Why her? Of all people, why her?
This question appears to be the one in the mind of many Filipinos and other democracy advocates worldwide after it was reported that revered democracy icon former Philippine president Corazon “Cory” Aquino is suffering from colon cancer.
Cory is acknowledged as the woman who led in the restoration of democracy in the Philippines through a People Power Revolt in 1986 after long years of dictatorship under Ferdinand Marcos.
That People Power Revolt, in turn, created a global firestorm of reforms that eventually led to the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of the two Germanys, and – most importantly – the collapse of the gargantuan Soviet empire, and the end of the Cold War with the United States, which now stands as the only superpower in the world.
Cory and the Filipino people are widely credited for these massive geopolitical changes in the world.
As such, news of her cancer affliction has global significance.
Cory’s son Senator Noynoy said when his mother found out she had cancer, she said: ‘Is that so? Well then, God will take care of me.’”
She then told her youngest daughter, showbiz celebrity Kris Aquino-Yap: “I’m 75 years old. What more do I want?”
Kris said their mother is the one suffering but she never asked, never wavered in her faith in God.
“It’s us, her children who will have to be strong,” Kris said, adding that her mother said everything is according to His will.
She added that her mother’s instruction is for them “not to cry, control your emotions.”
Such gracious acceptance of fate from a living symbol of what’s left of goodness in this world.
It’s just too sad to note that the incumbent Philippine President, Gloria Arroyo, up to noontime of March 25, 2008, still had to issue her own personal statement of sympathy for Cory – when all other leaders from across the political fence have expressed their sadness and prayers for the widow of the martyred Philippine hero Ninoy Aquino.
Cory has been critical of Mrs. Arroyo’s handling of the reins of power and has twice called for her to resign.
Cory was scheduled to start her chemotherapy treatment Tuesday, March 25, at a still undisclosed hospital. She may eventually have to undergo surgery for her colon cancer, her two children said.
Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the Philippines, ahead of lung and breast cancer, according to Dr. Armand Crisostomo, a noted colorectal surgeon and president of the Philippine College of Surgeons.
When treated at an early stage, more than 90 percent of patients survive at least five years after their diagnosis, Crisostomo said.
But the problem is that only about 39 percent of colorectal cancer is found at an early stage. The survival rate drops considerably once the cancer has spread, the doctor said.
Stage I, II, and III cancers are considered potentially curable. In most cases, stage IV cancer is not curable, Crisostomo said.
Noynoy and his sister Kris declined to say at what stage their mother’s cancer is at. “We prefer not to,” Kris said.
Kris said the Aquino family opted to tell the public about the condition of their mother because they still believe in the power of prayers in the hope that millions of Filipinos will pray for the former president.
Noynoy said his mother was the one who decided to let the public know about her failing health condition, so the people would know her situation.
Let’s all join hands in praying that Cory would survive this latest challenge to her life. May God take good care of you, Madam Cory.
Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino gestures as she attends a rally calling for the resignation of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Manila’s Makati financial district on Feb. 29, 2008. (Reuters photo)