From Washington to China, a pouring of grief for former President Aquino

August 2, 2009 12:14 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Aug. 2 — Condolences from the White House in Washington, D.C. to foreign missions such as the Chinese Embassy in Manila keep pouring for the late former President Corazon C. Aquino, first woman Head of State of the Philippines and the icon of reinvigorated democracy in the country.

United States President Barack Obama, who met with Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo just two days before Mrs. Aquino’s demise, said the former President’s “courage, determination, and moral leadership are an inspiration to us all and exemplify the best in the Filipino nation.”

President Obama’s condolences were issued through White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

He said Aquino had a “crucial role in Philippine history, moving the country to democratic rule through her non-violent 'People Power' movement over twenty years ago. Her courage, determination, and moral leadership are an inspiration to us all and exemplify the best in the Filipino nation.

"On behalf of the American people, the President extends his deepest condolences to the Aquino family and the nation of the Philippines.”

”The Chinese government and the Chinese people feel deep regrets over her death," Chinese President Hu Jintao said in a statement of condolence sent through Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.

"Mrs. Aquino is an outstanding leader of the Philippines, and she is also a good friend of the Chinese people," Hu said.

The Chinese Embassy, represented by Ambassador Liu Jianchao, said they “are deeply saddened, and expressed that “the Philippines lost an inspiring statesman while China, in sharp grief, bereaved of a sincere friend.”

An embassy statement said “President Aquino made great efforts in developing China-Philippines friendly relations. Her vision would be remembered and her contribution would be long cherished by China and the Chinese people. May she rest in peace.”

From U.S. Department of State Secretary Hillary Clinton came "deepest condolences" with a personal touch, as she mentioned how "Bill (husband and former President Bill Clinton) and I were inspired by her quiet strength and her unshakable commitment to justice and freedom."

"Cory Aquino was beloved by her nation and admired by the world for her extraordinary courage after the assassination of her husband, and later, during her service as president.

"She helped bring democracy back to the Philippines after many years of authoritarian rule with a faith in her country and its people that never wavered.

"Like millions of people worldwide, Bill and I were inspired by her quiet strength and her unshakable commitment to justice and freedom. We join the American and Filipino people in honoring her life and memory."

U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney extended condolences for the U.S. Embassy in Manila, saying “President Aquino's example and memory will inspire generations to come.”

"Our deepest sympathy, thoughts, and prayers are with the Aquino family and all those who, like us, loved her.

”After her husband was assassinated in 1983, President Aquino's determined leadership of the peaceful 'People Power' revolution restored democracy to the Philippines. Her courage in the face of tragedy and the peaceful restoration of democracy made her an icon for freedom-loving people everywhere. President Aquino's example and memory will inspire generations to come."

Cory worked closely with the U.S. Embassy in the annual Ninoy Aquino Fellowships for public service and journalism.

"We will deeply miss her personal warmth and her tireless zeal on behalf of talented Filipinos emerging as leaders in those fields."

The United Kingdom reiterated its condolences, after falsely sending one earlier in the week while Mrs. Aquino was still hovering between life and death at a Makati City hospital. It had apologized for that faux pas, sent by former Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch Brown, who worked closely with Mrs Aquino during her election campaign.

This time, Foreign Minister of State Ivan Lewis, MP, extended the British government's condolences to the Aquino family.

Brown added: "I received the news of Corazon Aquino's death with great sadness. As an advisor in her campaign against President Marcos, the privilege of working with Cory and watching her was one of my life's greatest lessons in courage, leadership, the art of politics and humanity. The way she and all her family made such friends of me as an outsider is something I have always treasured."

British Ambassador Peter Beckingham added: "I had the honor and pleasure of meeting former President Aquino on several occasions, when we were able to discuss her visits to London and her interests in members of the Filipino community in Britain, especially those serving in the Church. Those discussions left me with an overwhelming sense of her grace, charisma and compassion. The Philippines has lost a wonderful leader who is widely admired in Britain for her courage and inspiration."

In a note verbale to the DFA, the European Union transmitted a message from EU President Jose Manuel Barroso to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, ”expressing the deepest sympathy” in Aquino's death.

On his part, Ambassador Alistair MacDonald, head of the EC Delegation in Manila, said his “heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy go to the family of President Aquino, and to the Philippine nation, on this very sad occasion.

”In 1986, President Aquino became a beacon of democracy in the Philippines, and an inspiration for many others around the world. Throughout her Presidential term, and notwithstanding a number of severe challenges, she never flinched in her determination to ensure that the Philippines would not veer from its democratic path." (PNA)

scs/GJB

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