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DFA chief chides Amb. Kenney for Cory remark

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario gave stinging criticism of former United States Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney in reaction to her calling the late President Corazon “Cory" Aquino as “only a partial icon of democracy" in a diplomatic cable posted on the online whistleblower WikiLeaks. Various news outlets, sourcing from international wire reports, said del Rosario viewed Kenney as “a dismal failure in helping the Filipinos defend our democracy." “Kristie Kenney’s criticism of our champion of democracy was most unfortunate," del Rosario was quoted as saying. He is in China accompanying President Benigno Aquino III, Mrs. Aquino’s son. When President Aquino visits the city of Xiamen, he will, during traditional rites, pay tribute to his and his mother’s Chinese ancestors. Del Rosario, however, complimented Kenney on being “extremely sociable," but he added, “It would seem that she preferred instead to be favorably looked upon" by Arroyo’s administration. Kenney, through her Twitter account Wednesday, dismissed the WikiLeaks cable. “Don't believe all you read," Kenney, now posted in Bangkok, said in her tweet. A July 2009 US Embassy cable posted online by WikiLeaks quoted Kenney as saying Mrs. Aquino’s credibility as a moral crusader was tarnished because she associated herself with ousted President Joseph Estrada in protests against then-President Gloria Arroyo. Mrs. Aquino helped oust Estrada in 2001 but turned against Arroyo in 2005, when a scandal broke out over taped conversations suggesting Arroyo may have cheated in the 2004 presidential elections. Mrs. Aquino, who was tagged an “icon of democracy" after challenging then strongman Ferdinand Marcos in the 1986 snap elections, succumbed to cancer on Aug. 1, 2009. Her passing generated the groundswell of support that eventually catapulted her only son to the presidency in May 2010. — JE/ELR/KBK, GMA News