Tarlac, Philippines – It usually takes decades and proven miracles for anyone to be canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church. But for the late Cory Aquino, former Philippine president, wife of murdered opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr., and mother of incumbent president NoyNoy Aquino, all it took was sainthood “by acclamation.”
Cory supporters and fanatics in her native Tarlac province, north of Manila, took it upon themselves to proclaim their idol as “Saint Cory of Hacienda Luisita.” Hacienda Luisita is an expansive piece of land owned by the Cojuanco and Aquino families which has been a sore thumb in the Philippines’ decades-old Agrarian Reform Program. To this day, many farmers who once tilled the soil at Hacienda Luisita have not gained ownership of their piece of land. Scores of others have actually been displaced and forced out of the land they once called home.
The powerful Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has been all but silent on Cory’s “sainthood.” Top bishops in the CBCP are known to have always aligned themselves with the Aquino family back since the regime of Ferdinand Marcos.
The Philippines has two saints canonized in Rome: Lorenzo Ruiz and Pedro Calungsod. Aquino is the first known saint to be canonized outside The Vatican.
In a related development, the Congress of the Philippines has passed a bill to rename the International Airport in the former U.S. airbase in Clark, province of Pampanga, as “Cory Aquino International Airport.
Opponents of the bill objected, saying that the government cannot name an airport after a saint because the Philippine Constitution provides for the separation of church and state.