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Proud Again to be Filipino

The Philippines is in world focus at 12 noon today. A crowd of 150,000 is expected to gather at the Quirino Grandstand to witness a historic event that was unthinkable one year ago today----the inauguration of a President Benigno Aquino as the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines.

To highlight how special this day is, let us not forget that before this day, the world looked at the Filipinos with disdain because of inability, in spite of best efforts, to get rid of a bad President who is disliked by 70% of the population. All indications then pointed to perpetuation of a scandal-ridden, corrupt regime through constitution change---a ploy that was successful for Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe---or through a proxy president, or outright martial law regime a'la Marcos. It seemed everybody was trying to please the powerful Gloria who relished buying loyalties left and right. TV host Willie Revillame, bereft of any sense of history and all too willing to live in ignominy, could very bravely put off the coverage of Cory's funeral in his show. Gloria behaved like some wise guys you meet everyday trying to put one over you and when unsuccessful would simply say. "Baka makalusot lang naman." She knew too well that Filipinos have short memories and they are pathologically patient.

The death of Cory Aquino last August came like a bolt of lightning. It seemed though that, initially, Gloria and gang did not know what hit them. But it struck deep into the tired soul of the Filipino people. Let us not forget that up to her last days on earth, Cory was treated with contempt by the Gloria forces. But it turns out that Time Magazine, years ago, was prophetic in declaring Cory Aquino the "Saint of Democracy." Cory is a force to reckon with in life and in death. The darling of EDSA I was very much around in the recent Elections 2010 that is now described as "EDSA I all over again disguised as election."

The ascension of Noynoy Aquino to the Presidency today marks the end of an unlamented regime. But let us not be fooled by Gloria's seemingly gracious exit. Just like the villain in a James Bond or Batman movie, she is leaving behind booby traps and land mines designed to give difficulties to the hero. We hope Gloria's midnight appointments, orders and laws prove to be only minor inconveniences for Noynoy and the Filipinos.

As Filipinos now regaining our pride, we should not lose track of who are the heroes and the villains in this saga. Make no mistake, Noynoy Aquino is our only hope for a better Philippines right now---not even Binay and certainly not the likes of the Marxoses and Gloria again. People Power, now proving omnipotent in whatever form and disdained by both Ferdinand Edralin Marcos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, should not leave Noynoy. As we said to Ninoy then, let us be one in telling Noynoy: "Hindi ka nag iisa!"

Time to wear again those EDSA I vintage shirts shouting to the world "I am a Filipino."