Cebu City government employees and officials attended a healing mass for ailing former President Corazon Aquino yesterday even as the Cebu Archdiocese assured her of prayers for her recovery.
The Mass held at the legislative building's lobby was officiated by Fr. Vic Labao, who knew Aquino when she was still a housewife agonizing over the decision to run for the presidency in 1986 against Ferdinand Marcos.
He said the country still needs her presence today because ?Cory? remains an ?icon of transformation.?
In his homily, Fr. Labao recalled his visits to the Aquino household, where the widow of the late Sen. Benigno Aquino served her specialty dish, lengua, to guests.
He said Aquino enjoyed being a housewife and was hesitant to run for president. Fr. Labao said she was later advised to run, following the 1983 assasination of her husband, after being told by Fr. Hontiveros that that ?you may not do much but you can be much for the country.?
Yesterday some supporters wore yellow shirts during the mass. Yellow was the protest color identified with Aquino and the anti-Marcos movement.
?Mao nga nag-ampo mi para sa iyang kaauyahan kay naguol man mi nga nasakit siya(We are praying for her recovery because we are sad that she?s sick)? said Enriquita Rivera, an Aquino supporter.
The former president, who has colon cancer, remains in stable condition, and has been eating some fruits, according to her spokesperson Deedee Siytangco.
Siytangco saidAquino received Communion during a mass officiated by her confidante, Fr. Catalino Arevalo, in her room at the Makati Medical Center on Sunday.
Aquino, 76, was brought to the hospital on June 25 for weakness and loss of appetite. She was diagnosed with cancer of the colon early last year.
Her successor, former President Fidel V. Ramos paid homage to her during yesterday?s healing Mass at the Greenbelt 5 chapel in Makati City.
"The Filipino people owe Ms Aquino an eternal debt of gratitude, and she deserves the people's everlasting accolade. We wish her well and we hope that she can get over this crisis," Ramos said.
In Cebu, archdiocese spokesman Msgr. Achilles Dakay said Cebuanos continue to pray for the former president during their masses. The Carmelite nuns in Cebu said they are praying for Aquino, who considers the congregation one of those she relies on as her ?powerhouse of prayer?.
In 1986, the former president was in Cebu for an anti-Marcos protest rally and sought refuge at the Carmelite convent just as the Edsa revolution broke out.
Vice Mayor Michael Rama said the Cebu City government recognizes Aquino's importance as an inspiration for positive change in government. The Women International League-Cebu Chapter, whcih helped organize the mass, said Aquino was a symbol for peace and freedom. /With Inquirer and Editorial Assistant Ma. Bernadette A. Parco