MANILA, Philippines – Kris Aquino and her three other female siblings are now officially adopted “mistahs (classmates).”
The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Mapitagan" Class of 1980 has adopted Kris, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Viel Aquino-Dee and Pinky Aquino-Abellada as its honorary members to pay tribute to their late mother, former president Corazon Aquino.
The 4 are the siblings of Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.
“It was a decision of the whole class,” said Mapitagan Class president Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Superintendent Victorio Caragan.
Ballsy, the oldest, was inducted at the office of the Public Safety Mutual Benefit Fund in Quezon City on February 15. Pinky, on the other hand, was inducted last Friday at Baguio Country Club.
Viel and Kris will formally become Mapitagan Class mistahs after the commemoration of the 24th anniversary of People Power Revolution.
“That was one of the saddest days of our lives but seeing all of you at the funeral services… made our goodbye to mom really, really, special,” Pinky said.
Chief Superintendents Leo Kison, Roque Ramirez, Ager Ontog, Jufel Adriatico, and Senior Superintendent Silvestre Primero, all members of Class of 1980, attended their mom’s funeral. Caragan, Chief Superintendents Benjardi Mantele, Danny Siongco, Nicanor Bartolome Jr. and Herold Ubalde were pall bearers.
“We really, really thank you for considering to adopt us. Ballsy told me she had a very memorable evening with you last Monday. We will not forget this honor you have given us,” she said.
Pinky admitted that she used to fear the military especially during the martial law yeras when her father, the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was imprisoned.
She said her perceptions changed when the military defended their mother from coup attempts during her term as president.
“We really owe so much to the military. You really saved us from all of those coup attempts. We are alive today because of our dear friends in the military. We have a very special place in our hearts for the members of the Presidential Security Group,” she said.
Politicians at PMA homecoming
Every year, the PMA's alumni homecoming has been dotted with politicians, from those running for local positions to those gunning for national seats.
However, this time around during this election year, only Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. of Lakas-Kampi-CMD arrived to greet his adopted Class of 1985.
Most of the presidential aspirants and their party mates, who were expected to arrive, were nowhere to be seen.
The PMA leadership have earlier reminded that campaigning is prohibited within the premises of the military academy.
PMA public information officer Capt. Agnes Lynette Flores said that the military should be nonpartisan.
In this way, according to PMA superintendent Vice Admiral Leonardo Calderon, the yearly event will not be mired with politics and be used for free campaigning within the ranks of the alumni.
Because of this, the academy has placed banners saying “no politics please” in strategic locations of the camp.
Campaigning just outside PMA's walls
However, some have been seen to campaign, though outside the walls of Fort del Pilar.
Liberal Party senatorial bet Ruffy Biazon's convoy was spotted to have posters in their vans and cars but were removed upon entering the academy, and Revilla's tarpaulins have been spotted around together with the other's classes' welcome banners.
Flores said they cannot do anything about the said campaigning methods, since these are outside the academy.
Meanwhile, 7 members of Class 1976 are running for positions in government. One of them is Director Leopoldo Bataoil, who is running to represent the second district of Pangasinan in the House of Representatives.
For fears that the traditional "adoption" has been politicized, Senator Rodolfo Biazon proposed to his fellow "mistahs" to end the practice.
In this year's homecoming, around 1,800 alumni were present together with their families and friends.
The annual event is used by the academy’s alumni to reminisce and reconnect old ties among those who were once cadets of Asia's premier military academy. With a report from Jermaine Beltran, ABS-CBN News, Baguio City