Accidental Hero

September 18th, 2009 · No Comments

 A nation wept; heads of states and heads of government sent their condolences to a grieving nation; people reminisced; words uttered with respect; and the world watched as the Philippines was on prime time television for a few brief seconds. 

Former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino had passed away.

Thousands of people dressed in yellow lined the streets as the funeral cortege winded through Manila’s traffic to catch a glimpse of the former President one last time.

So why then, oh why, was her casket placed on top of a RED flat bed semi trailer with a sloppy screen printed banner draped across the front of the truck?  


 Her casket sat right in the middle of the flat bed, surrounded by white flowers and four military men stood at every corner of the coffin.

I bet the logic was that the casket had to be seen by the masses who were clamoring to see her and it had to be elevated so that people would not be able to get near the casket. 

That kind of logic absolutely infuriates me!  It meant that the police could not control the crowd; and the Filipinos could not be disciplined to stand behind barriers – human or otherwise – and that is if there were any barriers in place at all.

It also proved that we do things in half-measures. It was neither here nor there.  It was the usual hodge-podge – a little bit of this and a little bit of that, toppled with the “puwede na”. 

 No, it was not a state funeral as Cory had previously voiced her disgust with Arroyo for which Arroyo retaliated by taking off the guards assigned to watch over her as is due past Presidents.  So the viewing was not at Malacañan but at La Salle Greenhills Stadium and at Manila Cathedral. No politicians spoke although some managed to sneak their political agendas. And yet, there were military men on guard, the coffin was draped in a flag, and she was accorded a 21 gun-salute.  How stately is that?

 Oh, and please don’t tell me that it was a funeral for the people – for the masses that loved her.  According to sources in the Philippines, “they” wanted the funeral procession to be the same as that of her husband’s, Ninoy Aquino.  His casket was also placed on top of a truck and paraded through the streets of the city. But one forgets that Ninoy Aquino was not a President. She was! 

If that was the intention, why couldn’t they find a black or white truck – or drape it beautifully with yellow fabric or deck it with more flowers. Disguise the truck and cover the red!! The thought of that red truck makes me see red!! People went out of their way to dress in yellow and they use a red truck! What, they were colour blind?  We have had beautiful floats done for Santa Cruzan and our fiestas. And we Filipinos are known for being able to complete such projects overnight – and they couldn’t make one? 

Kudos to the four military men who stood at attention at the four corners of her coffin.  How they managed to have maintained their stance atop a moving vehicle through Manila’s pot-holed streets is beyond me.   RTA would have had a fit with this arrangement as it would have been totally unsafe for anyone to stand on a moving vehicle without any restraints. Only in the Philippines.

It simply was not befitting for someone who was once hailed “Woman of the Year” and an “Icon of Democracy”.  And the worst part was the world was watching!




Tags: Grey Matter