MANILA - It's not easy being an Aquino. The children of democracy icons Cory and Ninoy can attest to this. But for Ballsy and Pinky, sisters of the sitting President, the Aquino name comes with its own perks.
"For me, I really value, I'm so proud to be the daughter of Ninoy and Cory. And you mentioned, aside from the name, I really think, wow, that name will see us through, because of the way they both took care of that name. Hindi sa pagyayabang -- pero sino pa kayang family ang minahal ng ganun? Na maski ilang taon na, pagka death anniversary ng Dad, wow, 30 plus years, eto pa rin yung pag-aalala sa kanya na ang gaganda," Ballsy said in an interview on ANC's Talkback with Tina Palma.
The Aquino name also brings a lot of painful memories: a father incarcerated during martial law and later murdered in broad daylight.
These days, the two Aquino sisters say they choose to look at the positive things that these events have brought out.
"For one thing, I think it turned my dad spiritually. Because before martial law, he would go to Church just to make my mom happy. 'Para wag na ako awayin ni Cory. Bakit di ako nagsimba kasama sila?' After that, there was such a transformation. I could feel it," Ballsy said.
Pinky added: "If we look back, we learned so much from it. It prepares you. And as Mom said: 'Bibigay lang sa'yo ng Diyos yung kaya mong tanggapin.'"
"And I remember Mom saying: 'Buti na lang hindi sinabi sa akin 'O Cory, Year 1 ito ang mangyayari. Year 2...' Kasi you'll die thinking of those. But then it comes a little bit at a time and then you survive it and you become - I think we're all stronger people because of that experience."
Survival for Ballsy and Pinky led to dealing with two presidencies in the family. Their mother, Corazon Aquino, became president after the 1986 EDSA Revolution removed President Ferdinand Marcos from power while their brother was elected president in 2010.
Pinky said she sees similarities in the leadership styles of Cory and PNoy.
"Similar to Mom, hindi mo makikita, it will be very hard to get them agitated or rattled maski na super below the belt na yung binabato na sa kanila," she said.
"He has Mom's, yung pagka-straight..." she said.
Ballsy added: "Parang mas grabe..."
"I call it straighter than a ruler," added Pinky.
Asked how much of their parents' values is in the President now, Ballsy said: "I can't really say how much but I think he got the best qualities eh."
"He got the best of both," added Pinky.
The Aquino sisters have become the sounding board for people criticizing the President.
To the critics, the Aquino sisters had this to say.
"Sana mapalagay ka na lang knowing I really believe he's doing his best, and what he thinks will be best for the country," Ballsy said.
Added Pinky: "That's why we tell people: 'You know, he knows so much more than we have. He has so much more info. Ang alam lang natin, yung nakikita sa media o nasabi ng kaibigan mo.' So I hope the trust will be there that he is making a sound decision because he has more information than us."
The two sisters admit it is not easy to have a president in the family but they are proud of what their brother has achieved.
Pinky said she hopes they would be out of the spotlight by 2016.
"I hope I'm retired already from campaigning but if there's something that I truly, truly believe in, and maybe if my campaigning will help, why not? But it's still, it's like, under 23 months away," she said.
Catch the full interview with the Aquino sisters Ballsy and Pinky… on Talkback with Tina Palma. The episode airs tonight, August 25, at 7 p.m.