In my previous post entitled “The greatest legacy of Cory Aquino Part 1” I discussed several legacies left by the presidency of Corazon Aquino. I said that I believe her greatest legacy was integrity. Now we continue on why I believe this is so.
CORAZON AQUINO’S GREATEST LEGACY – HER INTEGRITY
As I said the Aquino administration may not be perfect. In fact there were accusations before that some relatives of Corazon Aquino from the Cojuangco side that were taking advantage of Corazon Aquino’s presidency. Yet none can dare lift a finger and accuse Corazon Aquino personally of any corruption whatsoever. To this day, her integrity remains intact. In fact international observer and news media say that Corazon Aquino is the only president after Marcos whose integrity remains untarnished and intact.
Her presidency was marked by simplicity, honesty and integrity. Stories about her simplicity and honesty are told by former staff. It is said that during a visit in a rural area, one was overheard saying the President is wearing the same dress again to which Corazon Aquino merely replied that indeed she was president, but she was president of a poor country.
She even refused to use the siren. When the Presidential convoy passed by they would have to use the megaphone and announce to the public that the president would want to pass by.
In gatherings she wants to be treated the same way as others. She will sit on the same chair as everybody does. It is even said that she dyes her own hair.
When the time came for her to step down in 1992, she gladly did and gave way to the next person she believes will be most capable to lead the Filipino people.
I remember hearing an interview with one of her daughters who narrated how her mother was so strict when she was president. She did not want any talk that could possibly ruin her integrity that she did not allow her children to go to any ribbon cutting as to not to give the impression that the Office of the President is giving some individual or companies some favor.
On a personal level, Corazon Aquino lived a life of kindness, honesty and integrity. Household helps testify that never once were the berated by the former president. In fact, one of the final things she asked her daughters before she passed way was to make sure their home at Time Street are given their salaries and allowances.
Indeed, Corazon Aquino’s greatest legacy was her integrity. As artist Jim Paredes said on T.V, that just like Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, who never led the actual revolution or built great infrastructures or even led the country, the people loved and remembered him because of his integrity. Corazon Aquino’s greatest legacy is her integrity and that’s why she is loved and will be remembered not only by millions of Filipinos but by billions around the world. Just like Abraham Lincoln, who was also known for his integrity, Corazon Aquino even in her death was loved by her enemies. Several already came forward and apologized for what they did, acknowledge her contributions and hailed her integrity.
IT’S THE INTEGRITY STUPID !
So the lesson here is this, if you want to be remembered as a great president it’s not about how many kilometers of road you have paved, how many IT jobs you have generated, how many billions of dollars you have raked in or if the inflation rate was lower and that GDP or GNP was at its highest during your presidency. The Clinton campaign used to say to Bush Sr. that “It’s the economy stupid”, But I say to those who would want to be remembered and loved just like Corazon Aquino, IT’S THE INTEGRITY STUPID.
I’ve overheard this and has kept it as part of my personal mission statement that the best way to be remembered is to plant a tree, sire a son and write a book and I’ve said I’ve done the two it’s only the tree planting that I have not worked on. But I would like to add a fourth one and that of course is INTEGRITY.