Cory Didn’t Flaunt Her Faith
by Mia Gonzalez
President Arroyo and former President Corazon Aquino are often compared because of the circumstances surrounding their ascent to power. Both were swept into the presidency by a popular revolt to replace a corrupt regime, both had the blessing of the late Cardinal Sin and the Catholic Church, and both are known to be devout Catholics.
But reporters who covered either of the two presidents suggest that while their Catholic anchor might have lumped them together, their way of manifesting their faith set them apart. Booma Cruz, who covered Ms. Aquino when she was a reporter for the now defunct Manila Chronicle, remembers one of the most famous widows in the Philippines as someone who practiced her faith in private.
“You can see that she was religious even without seeing her in prayer all the time. But when she is asked about governance, she never mentioned the Lord, and didn’t say, ‘The Lord put me here,’” Cruz says, apparently referring to Ms. Arroyo’s previous statements about her leadership.
When Ms. Aquino mentions something about religion, “it’s so natural for her,” Cruz says.
Al Pedroche, editor in chief of Pilipino Star Ngayon, recalls that Ms. Aquino was the first Chief Executive to attend prayer rallies, which might have set a precedent for her successors.
Conrado Limcauco, head of the Philippine Information Agency who served the Aquino administration, says that Ms. Aquino manifests her religiosity through prayer. “Her initial reaction to any problem is prayer.” Limcauco recalls that during the snap elections leading to Edsa 1, Ms. Aquino spearheaded a prayer brigade for prayer vigils.
Similarly, Marichu Villanueva, Philippine Star news editor who covered the Aquino presidency and Ms. Arroyo, observes, “Cory is no show-off when it comes to her religiosity. GMA flaunts her religiosity. For Cory, it’s between her and the Lord.”
- taken from Newsbreak, November 6, 2006 issue