Oct 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/08/09MANILA1618.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1618
2009-08-01 11:44
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO2381
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1618/01 2131144
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011144Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4779
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001618

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL RP
SUBJECT: “ICON OF DEMOCRACY” PRESIDENT CORY AQUINO PASSES AWAY

REF: MANILA 1414 (IN POOR HEALTH, FORMER PRESIDENT CORY AQUINO
FIGHTS ONE LAST BATTLE)

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino,
cherished as “President Cory” by the people of the Philippines,
passed away August 1 at Makati Medical Center surrounded by family
and friends. Hospitalized for her deteriorating health since late
June (reftel), Aquino succumbed to heart failure as a result of
advanced colon cancer. President Arroyo, in the U.S. for her July
30 White House meeting, declared ten-days of mourning to honor the
former President and said she would return home ahead of schedule.
While Malacanang has offered a state funeral for the former
president, the Aquino family’s plans for a funeral continue to
evolve. A spokesperson said the family preferred holding a funeral
mass on August 5 instead of a formal state funeral, although Aquino
family members have advised the Charge d’Affaires that the funeral
mass could resemble a state funeral. Having prayed for weeks for
her recovery, Filipinos are mourning the loss of their most beloved
president, memorializing her through their continued prayers and an
outpouring of yellow ribbons. The Ambassador offered condolences in
an official press statement and ordered Mission flags on all
compounds to fly at half-mast. The Charge d’Affaires represented
the Ambassador at the opening of Aquino’s wake on August 1. END
SUMMARY.

A DIFFICULT BATTLE AGAINST CANCER
———————————

¶2. (SBU) Hospitalized since late June for her deteriorating health,
“President Cory” passed away at 3:18 a.m. on August 1, in her
private room at Makati Medical Center. President Corazon Aquino had
been fighting stage-four colon cancer that spread to other parts of
her body, and, as of early July, was not expected to recover
(reftel). Family friends joined Aquino’s five children, who include
a senator and a celebrity, at the former president’s side during her
final moments. In an early morning statement, Aquino’s son Senator
Benigno Aquino III thanked the public for their prayers and support,
and said it was his mother’s wish that Filipinos pray for one
another and for their country.

PRESIDENT ARROYO OFFERS CONDOLENCES
———————————–

¶3. (SBU) On an intended ten-day trip to the U.S. for a July 30 White
House meeting and other engagements, President Arroyo publicly
expressed her condolences to Aquino’s family and said that the
Philippines had “lost a national treasure.” Arroyo declared a
“ten-day period of national mourning” to honor and memorialize the
former president. Arroyo was originally expected to return to the
Philippines on August 5, although Arroyo’s Executive Secretary
Eduard Ermita said from New York that Arroyo would return earlier,
with an announcement about her return trip to be made August 1 at
11:00 p.m. U.S. East Coast time. Illustrating President Aquino’s
unique place in the pantheon of Philippine leaders, a Malacanang
Palace press release called her “the country’s icon of democracy”
for her leadership of the successful 1986 uprising against dictator
President Ferdinand Marcos, hailing her as an “inspiration” to
nations around the world seeking freedom from tyranny and
dictatorship.

FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS
——————–

¶4. (SBU) Information available as of this report indicates that the
wake for President Aquino began August 1, 5:00 p.m. at the LaSalle
School gymnasium in Greenhills, Mandaluyong City, and would conclude
by early morning Tuesday, August 4. The Ambassador asked the Charge
d’Affaires to represent her at the wake. For the funeral, a requiem
mass will be held Wednesday, August 5, 9:00 a.m. at the Manila
Cathedral in the old walled city of Manila, after which President
Aquino will be laid to rest next to her late husband Ninoy Aquino at
Manila Memorial Park cemetery in Paranaque City. While Malacanang
has offered a state funeral for the former president, the Aquino
family’s plans continue to evolve. A spokesperson said the family
preferred holding a requiem mass instead of a formal state funeral,
though family members at the wake indicated to the Charge d’Affaires
that the requiem mass could be similar to a state funeral.
President Arroyo may also decide to hold a separate memorial service
after her return to the Philippines. An ongoing public vigil is
being held at the Epifanio de los Santos (EDSA) shrine in Quezon
City, the site where President Aquino led protesters against
President Marcos in 1986.

A NATION, AND THE U.S. MISSION, REACT
————————————-

¶5. (SBU) The passing of President Aquino has dominated all

MANILA 00001618 002 OF 002

Philippine broadcast and print media reporting since the news spread
in the early morning hours. Media have reported extensively on
comments made in Washington by Secretary Clinton as well as the
Ambassador, who was there for the official visit of President
Arroyo. Communities around the Philippines, from Luzon to Mindanao,
are mourning the loss of President Aquino, displaying yellow ribbons
in her honor. Provincial governors and religious leaders are
expressing condolences to the Aquino family through public
announcements and prayers, and are preparing for special religious
services on Sunday, August 2.

¶6. (SBU) The Ambassador ordered the Mission to honor the memory of
President Aquino with flags lowered to half-staff, including those
at the Manila American Cemetery, and through the prominent display
of yellow ribbons on Mission compounds. In a press statement, the
Ambassador offered heartfelt condolences to the Aquino family and
the Philippine people, noting Cory’s leadership in the People Power
revolution and, for the past 20 years, her close work with the U.S.
Embassy in helping to select the annual recipients of the Ninoy
Aquino Fellowships given for public service and journalism. The
Charge d’Affaires represented the Ambassador at the August 1 wake at
LaSalle Greenhills.

COMMENT
——-

¶7. (SBU) Post will continue to be in communication with the Aquino
family’s spokesperson and Philippine officials as the Aquino family
makes decisions regarding arrangements for the August 5 funeral.

BASSETT

   

 

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