Thank God I wasn’t the only one who went “What the hell?!” after reading a recently-shared article published on the Philippine Star in mid-2015 claiming a Jesuit priest is pushing for the canonization of the late former President Cory Aquino as a saint by the Catholic Church. A lot of people were actually using worse swear words than mine that I would rather not publish here, in reaction to this most ridiculous news to come out since back in 2009 when BS Aquino announced he was running for the Presidency.
Apparently, a certain Father Catalino Arevalo had been patiently waiting over the last six years to start the beatification process of Cory before being canonized. The rules set by the Catholic Church dictates that the process can only start six years after the person’s death. Cory died in 2009 and Arevalo, who proposed the idea back in 2015, may not be prepared to wait another minute to begin this outrageous project.
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This move to push Cory’s sainthood is nothing but pure vanity on the part of those who support it. Some Filipinos who are allied with the Aquinos just want the opportunity to tell the whole world that “Hey, we have another saint and it’s our third one!” As if having another saint is going to save the Philippines from being pulled down to the gutter by corrupt and incompetent public servants and the voters who put them there.
According to Joanne Rae M. Ramirez who authored that PhilStar article, it seems Arevalo’s only basis in claiming that Cory deserves to be a saint is that, Aquino, after a visit to Assisi at the end her presidential term, was “so struck by the life of St. Francis, who asked God for more sufferings”. He even described an incident when “Cory got down on her knees and prayed, ‘Lord, I don’t think I’ll ask for more sufferings. But if more sufferings come my way, I will not complain’.”
If all it takes to be a saint these days is for a person to go down on his or her knees and pray, then millions of Filipinos are qualified to be saints too. And, speaking of suffering, there are millions more who have gone through worse suffering than Cory. Those who eat pag-pag (food taken from the garbage bins of fast-food restaurants) everyday deserve to be nominated as saints more than her, if we were to apply the same criteria to them.
Furthermore, the farmers of Hacienda Luisita, for one, have been suffering in the hands of the Aquino-Conjuangco clan for decades but no one has nominated them for sainthood. The beatification process for some of the farmers who died while on strike during what is dubbed the Hacienda Luisita massacre can now begin. It has been more than six years too. In fact, it’s been more than a decade of hell since they died in the hands of military personnel ordered to protect the political family.
Yes, the victims have not received justice after all these years. Cory did not do anything for the victims’ suffering while she was alive. Even after the tragic event, there were farmer sympathizers including a priest, who were reportedly murdered just for supporting the cause:
On March 13, 2005, Father William Tadena, an Aglipayan priest who had mobilized his parish to regularly donate rice and groceries to the workers at the picket line before saying a weekly mass for them, was shot dead in his owner-type jeep on the provincial highway in La Paz, Tarlac while on his way to his next mass.
Let us all pray that the Vatican would conduct a thorough investigation of the life and times of Cory before they turn her into a saint. They will very likely find that she turned a blind eye to atrocities committed against helpless Filipinos who were simply fighting for their rights.
Truth be told, Cory was responsible for putting millions of Filipinos in a permanent state of misery. Her revolutionary government set a precedent that saw Filipinos habitually disrespect the country’s institutions over the decades that followed. She was the first to throw the rulebook out of the window. Succeeding bozos had a template for grabbing power “Cory style”. She even supported the ouster of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada so her then ally, former President Gloria Arroyo, could take over the Presidency. She later regretted helping oust Erap and apologized for ousting him. She said she made a mistake. This was after Cory had a falling out with her erstwhile ally, Arroyo. Speculation is rife that Cory got angry with Gloria for ordering the investigation of the farmers’ complaints:
Under pressure from public outrage over the November 2004 massacre, the Arroyo administration, through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), formed Task Force Stock Distribution on November 25, 2004 to study the causes of the workers’ strike. The Task Force was later renamed Task Force Luisita. In March 2005, teams were sent by the DAR to Luisita’s 10 barangays to investigate the SDO.
It’s no surprise that Cory’s only son BS Aquino made it his mission to persecute two people who were responsible for the break-up of their precious Hacienda Luisita. As soon as he stepped into power, BS Aquino ordered the arrest of Arroyo using trumped-up charges and then he proceeded to bully Congress into initiating the ouster of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, once again using trumped-up charges. Arroyo is still under hospital arrest even after most of the charges had been dropped and even when it was found that evidence presented is insufficient to convict her in the last remaining case against her. And a Chief Justice who blatantly shows her bias towards some politicians allied with the Aquinos has replaced Corona.
It seems vindictiveness runs in the Aquino family. Cory and her son did not even attempt to unite Filipinos while they were in power. They just kept carrying on and on about the “evils” of the Marcoses while allowing these very same “evils” to continue even when the Marcoses were already gone.
Cory didn’t accomplish anything significant. The fact that there were so many coup d’etats during her term says a lot about her inability to unite and inspire Filipinos to prioritize the interests of the country over personal interests. She probably pissed off her former allies with her own greed for power and the incompetence she applied to her work. Even her very own former Vice President, the late Salvador H. Laurel had to write her a letter pleading that she come to her senses after she appeared to have lost sight of the very reason they had to remove Marcos. Here are excerpts taken from this letter:
“We promised our people morality and decency in government. What do we have instead? The very opposite. It is now openly admitted by many, including your former Solicitor-General and some of your own close relatives in Congress, that the stench of “accumulated garbage”—I’m quoting your own first cousin, Congressman Emigdio Tanjuatco, Jr. —rises to high heaven; that the past years of Marcos are now beginning to look no worse than your first two years in office. And the reported controversies and scandals involving your closest relatives have become the object of our people’s outrage.
“We promised to ‘break the back’ of the insurgency. But what is the record? From 16,500 NPA regular when Marcos fell, the communists now claim an armed strength of 25,200, of which 2,500 are in Metro Manila. They have infiltrated not only the trade unions, the schools, the churches and the media but your government, above all, and now ‘affect’ 20 percent of the country’s 42,000 barangays, according to official statistics.
“In the fight against the insurgency, the nation, particularly our Armed Forces, expected you to provide the leadership, and to give decisive, clear and consistent orders. But you have chosen instead to behave like an innocent bystander, as though the insurgency were the sole concern of our soldiers, their widows and orphans.
How can Aquino supporters ignore this information about Cory from an insider? And now they want to turn her into a saint? Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
In life, things are not always what they seem.