MANILA - Among the foreigners and foreign dignitaries who paid their respects to the former President Cory Aquino on Wednesday is a former US congressman who had deep and personal ties with President Aquino came and went almost unnoticed.
Stephen Solarz, who served in the US Congress, was once referred to by President Aquino as the "Lafayette of the Philippines."
The comparison to the French general, who helped American revolutionaries in their quest for independence from Britain, was made at the time the Philippines was under the Marcos regime.
At the height of martial law, when US support for the Marcos regime was unquestioned, he was one of the few lonely voices who stood behind the democratic forces opposed to the regime.
Solarz befriended President Aquino's husband, former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., who was then in exile in Boston with his family. Solarz lobbied his colleagues in the US Congress to look at former President Ferdinand Marcos with a more critical eye.
For Solarz, former President Cory and the people power revolution have a significance that goes beyond Philippine shores.
Solarz said the people power revolution that thrust President Cory to power following the death of her husband Ninoy, became the template of similar efforts to restore democracy in other parts of the world. He named Pakistan, Paraguay, and Poland as some of the countries, which took their cue from the bloodless revolution that President Cory led here.
Solarz has been out of the US Congress for years, but retained a keen interest in international affairs.
He came as a private citizen with no pomp or ceremony to pay tribute to the late president to whom the Philippines and the whole world owe so much.
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