MANILA - In the wake of the death of former President Corazon Aquino last Saturday, the Aquino family has reacted differently to expressions of condolence from two presidential families.
One family, the Marcoses, received heartfelt thanks from the Aquinos. The irony is that the Marcoses were removed from Malacañang when Aquino rose to power in 1986.
On the other hand, President Arroyo, the incumbent Chief Executive, has been rebuffed by the Aquinos.
Former First Lady Imelda Marcos, whose husband Ferdinand was toppled by Aquino in the 1986 People Power revolt, released a statement Saturday that "Filipinos should unite and pray for Cory."
Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. also issued a similar call to support the Aquino family in their time of need.
"Ang buong pamilyang Marcos ay nakikiisa sa pagluluksa ng sambayanang Pilipino sa pagpanaw ni dating Pangulong Corazon Aquino (The Marcos family joins Filipinos in mourning former President Corazon Aquino's death)," he said in a statement.
Marcos said his family knows the pain the Aquino family is going through with the death of the "People Power" icon. "Muli, ang aming pakikiramay at pakikiisa sa pamilyang Aquino (Again, our condolences and support for the Aquino family)," the congressman said.
Aquino's youngest daughter, Kris, on Sunday thanked the Marcos family for offering prayers for her mother.
“I never thought that the time would come but I say thank you to the Marcoses for really praying for mom. I felt the sincerity,” said Kris on the ABS-CBN entertainment show “The Buzz."
During her last conversation with her mother, Kris said the former leader had already forgiven her political enemies. Likewise, the actress said her mother had also asked for their forgiveness.
“During my last conversation, I asked mom, sabi ko, ‘Mom, when I addressed the people, gusto mo ba sabihin ko (do you want me to tell that) you want everybody at peace?’ She said, ‘yes,’” Kris said.
Kris' older brother, Noynoy, said he appreciated the Marcos family's decision to reach out to them. He said the Ilocos Norte congressman's statement was sincere and that the Aquino family would welcome the Marcoses if they come to Cory's wake.
Imelda said Aquino's death could pave the way for a reconciliation between the Marcoses and the Aquinos. "I can feel the pain, the loss of a loved one, so I am in prayer. If these two families reconciled, there will be a miracle for the Philippines," Imelda said on local television.
The Marcoses are alleged to have plundered the government coffers of up to $10 billion from the national treasury.
In an interview with Agence France-Presse when she turned 80 last month, Marcos said she bore no anger towards Aquino, and offered prayers for her swift recovery.
Arroyo gets the cold shoulder
On the other hand, President Arroyo has received the cold shoulder treatment from the Aquino family especially after the revelation that the Chief Executive gave a half-hearted attempt to give state honors to the former president.
Mrs. Arroyo, who was in the United States when Cory died, officially declared a 10-day mourning period for the former head of state. She also designated August 5, Aquino's funeral, as a special non-working holiday and has cut short her trip allegedly to visit Aquino's wake.
Her efforts, however, have been rebuffed by some members of the Aquino family. Mrs. Arroyo and Aquino have had a falling out in the past couple of years after Aquino urged Arroyo to resign over allegations that she cheated in the 2004 presidential election.
Kris earlier said a Malacañang emissary approached them and offered a state funeral for the former president. Kris said the emissary told them that Malacañang was in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation wherein any move they make in offering a state funeral to Aquino could be misinterpreted.
"I said, 'I'm speaking on behalf of everybody. Malacañang doesn't have to say [na] bigyan ng honor ang Mom ko, dahil iyong honor nanggagaling sa bayan natin,'" Kris said. ( Malacañang doesn't have to say they gave my Mom the honor, because the honor comes from our country)
"It's not that we did not allow. We said: ‘Don't offer na lang, para walang gulo.’ Ayaw namin ng gulo," she later added. ("Don't offer anymore, so there won't be any messes. We don't want a mess)
Kris said she also brought up an incident back in July when she thought the government was recallling her mother's two security guards. The security detail is provided by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) to former presidents.
"It hurt me because I understand politics, and I understand that if you have influence, you inconvenience your enemies...It's my mom's right to have security. We just wanted the respect due my mom, a former President. Don't take away my mom's security blanket," she said.
President Arroyo apologized to the Aquino family for the pullout of Aquino's security detail before her death.
Press Secretary Cerge Remonde told reporters in the US that they were shocked to hear about the pullout of Aquino's security detail. He apologized to the Aquino family for their anguish over the incident and said the move was not intentional.
He said the military has initially admitted that the pullout was a "bureaucratic slip-up."
Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, meanwhile, denied that two security guards assigned to Aquino had been pulled out. He said the two's mother unit had been dissolved and that it is now the Philippine National Police that provides security to former and current government officials.
Noynoy said the bureaucratic slip-up was a convenient excuse for Malacañang to inconvenience his mother. He said he does not blame the military since the soldiers will not do anything without permission from the President.
He also reiterated that he is not looking forward to being contacted by Malacañang although he will be civil to President Arroyo if she decides to attend Cory's wake.
He also had one parting shot against the Arroyo administration. Asked if he would consider running for president in 2010, he quipped: "Sinalo ng nanay ko ang problema binigay ni Marcos. Ayoko saluhin problema na binigay ni Gloria na astang Marcos. Hindi ako masochista. (My mom took care of the problems left behind by Marcos. I don't want to get the problems left by Gloria who acts like Marcos. I'm not a masochist.)." (OMG YOU GO, NOYNOY. YOU GO.)
Ngl, I normally hate on Kris but her interview made me tear up at some parts.