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Aquino family on Cory: 'We entrust everything to God'

July 2, 2009 7:49am

A Call to Prayer

The Benigno S. Aquino Jr. Foundation put up a page where the public can post their prayers and express their messages of support for former President Corazon Aquino.

“In response to the flood of expressions of concern and support, as well as prayer offerings for President Cory Aquino, we have opened this special section where the public may post messages.

The members of her family beg everyone’s understanding of their need for solitude and privacy at this delicate time.

Let us all pray that God grant her good health and spare her from pain and suffering."

A novena Mass for Mrs. Aquino's recovery will be held every 12:15 p.m. from July 1 to July 9 at the Greenbelt Chapel in Makati City.

For more details, visit Mrs. Aquino’s Web site.

MANILA, Philippines - The family of former President Corazon "Cory" Aquino said Thursday they "remain in complete trust in God's infinite healing power" as prayers poured in for the cancer-stricken democracy icon.

Mrs. Aquino, who has been battling colon cancer for one and a half years, was admitted to the Makati Medical Center last week and friends have been holding a novena for her recovery.

"Her current hospitalization was necessary because of her loss of appetite, caused by fluid build-up in her stomach area. We remain in complete trust in God's infinite healing power," said a statement from the office of her son, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

"Our family wishes to thank the Filipino people for their prayers and outpouring of love and concern for our mother. She continues to be a woman of faith, a fighter, a source of hope and inspiration for all of us, not just her family but our entire nation as well," said the statement. "We entrust everything to God."

A similar statement from his sister, Kris Aquino-Yap, was sent to news agencies.

Lourdes Siytangco, Mrs. Aquino’s former spokeswoman and a close family friend, quoted family members as saying that the former president "is no longer receiving chemotherapy or any other medical interventions." Mrs. Aquino was diagnosed with colon cancer last year.

“Former President Cory Aquino is now out of the ICU and in a private room, a decision she and her children made in consultation with her doctors," Siytangco wrote in her regular column in the Manila Bulletin newspaper.

"The country's beloved "Icon of Democracy' is fighting the hardest battle of her life at the Makati Medical Center," she said.

In an interview with reporters after a healing mass for Mrs. Aquino, Sto. Niño de Paz chaplain Rufino Sescon Jr. said he was informed by Margaret Juico, Mrs. Aquino's trusted aide, that the former President has received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick.

However, he stressed that the sacrament is different from the communion of the dying.

"Not really, not really. Anointing of the sick is for those who are seriously ill but not necessarily the point of dying already," Sescon said after celebrating the second day of the prayer novena for Mrs. Aquino at the Greenbelt chapel.

In an interview with GMANews.TV, Siytangco said Mrs. Aquino "is stable. She is fine." She declined to give further details.

Former President Joseph Estrada, his wife Loi and children Jinggoy and Jackie attended Thursday's mass along with Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. and wife Gina, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, former agrarian reform secretary Philip Juico, and singer Lea Navarro.
Media kept in the dark about Cory’s condition

She defeated a dictator, survived seven coup attempts, and led crusades against corruption. Will she now prevail in her big battle for life?

No one could say for now, definitely not journalists. The media were kept in the dark about the health condition of former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, who has been confined at the Makati Medical Center for the last 10 days.

As early as 6 a.m. Thursday, about 20 journalists had started staking out near the main entrance of the hospital, but could not get any advisory on Mrs. Aquino's medical condition.

“As far as this office and the hospital are concerned, you can't get any information from us," Dr. Jake J. Marte of the hospital's Patients Relations Office told GMANews.TV in an interview at 5 p.m.

While the hospital understands that journalists need news about the former president's condition, Marte said the hospital had no clearance from Mrs. Aquino's family to give information to journalists.

He advised media to ask Mrs. Aquino's family directly about the leader's condition. The family finally released a short statement at around 6 p.m.

The 76-year-old Aquino, a democracy icon in the Philippines and in Asia, was diagnosed with colon cancer in March last year. She has been treated with chemotherapy and last May, underwent surgery to remove parts of her colon.

Unlike in the novena for Mrs. Aquino at the Greenbelt Chapel in Makati City, very few personalities were seen going to the hospital. Among them were ex-senators Serge Osmeña and John Osmeña and former ombudsman Aniano Desierto.

Journalists were refused entry at the hospital and were only allowed to stay at the right corner of the main entrance, where they were provided with chairs.

Information-hungry journalists kept an eye out for posh vehicles passing by, hoping that Aquino's relatives or well-wishers were inside and could be interviewed for an update about the former president’s condition.

As if an unfruitful day of coverage was not enough, journalists waiting outside the hospital had to endure the smell of varnish and paint. The area where they stayed was near the portion of the hospital that was being renovated.

“Hay naku, magsi-uwi na tayo (Let's just go home)," said one television journalist who had been staking out the hospital for eight hours and had not yet taken his lunch. - Annie Ruth C. Sabangan, GMANews.TV
"The whole family is praying for her. I hope she gets well," Estrada told reporters after the mass. "She's the most respected president, the most trusted president we've had."

Mrs. Aquino was instrumental in the EDSA uprising in 2001 that toppled Estrada and helped bring President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to power. However, she apologized to Estrada late last year during the launching of de Venecia's book, saying "all of us make mistakes." Both former presidents have been critical of Arroyo in recent years.

No visitors allowed

Siytangco said Mrs. Aquino’s “courageous battle with colon cancer has been inspiring with ‘bonus time’ for her living a quality life the past year and a half."

She said Mrs. Aquino "is aware of the many people praying for her, sending her well-wishes and continues herself to be prayerful." Supporters started a novena on Wednesday at the Greenbelt chapel in Makati for Mrs. Aquino's recovery.

Siytangco said no visitors are allowed in Mrs. Aquino's room at the hospital. Only the former president’s children Ballsy, Sen. Benigno Simeon Aquino III, Pinky, Viel, and Kristina Bernadette are “taking turns" at her bedside, she said.

“The members of her family beg everyone’s understanding of their need for solitude and privacy at this delicate time," Mrs. Aquino's family said in a statement posted on Mrs. Aquino’s Web site.

Radio dzBB reported that family members of the former president declined to give media an update on her condition. No hospital official would give the media an update on Mrs. Aquino’s situation either.

Radio dzBB’s Louie Garcia reported early Thursday that Cory's daughter Kris arrived at the Makati Medical Center at 12:30 a.m. but declined to give reporters a statement. The report said Kris brought clothes and fruits for her mother.

A Makati Medical official said there is no assurance they will issue any medical bulletin because it would depend on the family's decision. The official also requested members of the media to leave the hospital premises as only family members are allowed to visit Mrs. Aquino.

Sen. Aquino has also declined to discuss his mother's health condition with reporters.

Palace offers prayers

Saddened over the health condition of the former President, Malacañang on Thursday offered prayers to strengthen Mrs. Aquino in her battle against colon cancer.

“Of course ikinalulungkot ng Malacañang ang report na ang dating Pangulong Corazon Aquino ay nasa maselang kalagayan. Kaya kami ay nakikiisa sa panawagan na ipagdasal natin na maka-survive si Pangulong Cory laban sa cancer," Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said in an interview on dzXL radio.

[Of course, we at Malacañang are saddened with the reports about the condition of Mrs. Aquino. We are heeding the call for prayers for President Aquino to survive her battle with cancer.]

Mrs. Aquino has been asking Mrs. Arroyo to resign since 2005, in the wake of the “Hello Garci" electoral scandal involving taped conversations between then poll commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and several politicians, including Mrs. Arroyo. with a report from AIE BALAGTAS SEE - GMANews.TV
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