Praying for Tita Cory
NEW BEGINNINGS column By Bum D. Tenorio, Jr. Updated July 05, 2009 12:00 AM
They say the most potent prayer for someone who is unwell is said by a person who is also sick. If that is the case, God must be awed as to how my father prays for you. My hypertensive 74-year-old father is in the hospital, too, as he is being treated because he stopped eating for three days. When he learned from me that there would be a novena of healing Masses for you, my father said he would also pray for you.
My father is just one of the millions who are storming the gates of heaven now for you. My family, friends and I have formed a positive house of prayer for your wellbeing. In fact, since end of June, my Facebook status reads: “There will be a novena of healing Masses for former President Cory Aquino from July 1 to July 9 at 12:15 p.m. at the Greenbelt Chapel, Makati City. Let’s pray for Tita Cory. Thanks.”
Truth is, I have always been praying for your welfare ever since I learned about your cancer. Like a real Cory fanatic, I cried when your children Noynoy and Kris confirmed on nationwide TV on March 24, 2008 about your cancer of the colon.
Why do people cry for someone they don’t even know personally? I cried because I felt for the icon of my political awakening –– you were the mother who, by virtue of what you did for our country, taught me to understand what democracy was all about. Even without us knowing each other personally –– and I ask for your understanding with my temerity in calling you Tita –– I have always regarded you as my mother in more ways than one. And here’s a son saying a prayer for you. And like the million others who do the same, I have this fervent belief that God acts fast on our pleas.
I was only 10 months old when martial law was declared; 11 years old when your husband Ninoy was assassinated; and 14 when the late strongman called for a snap election. If only I could vote then, I would surely have written your name on my ballot. But my parents and my other relatives did.
Life in my little and sleepy barrio in Laguna went on with the heat of the presidential campaign slightly felt. We had no TV yet then but our transistor radio was always on. It was the same radio that my parents would bring to the rice field. (I remember having to place two big Eveready batteries under the sun hoping that doing so would charge them longer). In the farm, my parents would wear identical yellow long-sleeved shirts made of polyester with “Sobra na, Tama na, Palitan na” slogan. Those shirts of theirs would naturally be smudged with mud at the end of the day but mother would always find time washing them. At least twice a week I would see my parents wear those shirts to the field. By the time those yellow shirts faded to white with constant washing and the slogan almost wiped out, the tenant in Malacañang was also expunged like the dirt in my parents’ shirts after a hard day’s work in the field.
It was at the height of the presidential campaign that I understood brilliantly the meaning of charisma. All I had to do was to watch you in our neighbor’s television and you would simply become charisma personified—with the mammoth crowd surrounding you, listening intently to whatever you would say. That gave birth to my being drawn to what they called then the Cory magic.
When People Power ended on Feb. 25, 1986, my parents declared a holiday from working in the field. I felt I also won. Indeed we all won!
Since then, I have become a silent fan. The rallies, marches and demonstrations against Marcos from 1983 to 1986 that I heard or saw in the news escorted me on my way to being politically aware. You were at the center of this awakening. And I feel, I owed it all to you.
You were installed into power via a bloodless revolt that the rest of the world will remember. And for the democracy you restored for me and the rest of the Filipino people –– a prayer every day, anywhere, anytime is all that a stranger son like me can offer you.