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Filipinos bid goodbye to ex-leader Aquino
Wed Aug 5, 2009 9:06am EDT
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By Manny Mogato
MANILA (Reuters) - Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, heroine of the 1986 people power movement, was laid to rest on Wednesday after an eight-hour funeral procession that had to inch its way past hundreds of thousands of mourners.
Holding umbrellas against the pouring rain and chanting "Cory, Cory," the crowds waited patiently along a 20-km (12-mile) route through the city from Manila Cathedral to the memorial park where she was buried with military honors.
As the cortege passed, many waved, scrambled to touch the flat-bed truck on which her coffin was laid, or made the "L" sign, her trademark during the fairytale revolution that ended the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and captivated the world.
Masses in Aquino's memory were celebrated in Catholic churches throughout the country, with 2,000 officials, diplomats and business figures attending the largest in Manila's 400-year-old cathedral.
Aquino's youngest daughter, Kristina Bernadette Yap, a film and television star more popularly known as Kris Aquino, thanked those attending.
"The last words Mom expressed to each of us were 'Take care of each other,'" she said.
"I know that those words weren't meant just for our family, but for all of us as a nation. In the way that all of you have been thanking us for sharing Mom with you, our Mom never failed to thank each of us."
The military gave a 21-gun salute and buglers played "Taps" as Aquino was buried next to her husband, Benigno, whose assassination in 1983 catapulted her to the national stage.
Three years later, over a million people poured into the streets to support troops who were backed by Aquino and had revolted against Marcos. Marcos and his family fled into exile and Aquino held the presidency until 1992.
Among those paying respect to Aquino was East Timor leader Jose Ramos-Horta. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo came straight to the cathedral from the airport on her return from a visit to the United States. She only stayed briefly.
In the cathedral grounds, mourners clad in yellow -- the color associated with Aquino and the 1986 revolution -- watched a live broadcast of the Mass on two giant screens. Thousands waved yellow balloons or banners.
Police said a procession extending over two km (one mile) -- more than 100,000 people -- later filed slowly behind Aquino's cortege as it wound its way to the cemetery. Some walked barefoot from the church, radio reported.
Posh and humble vehicles alike bore a strip of yellow ribbon tied to a door handle or rear-view mirror.
Many of those present were too young to have experienced the revolution that propelled Aquino to power. Continued...
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