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Thousands pay last respects to Aquino

  |   Aug. 5, 2009 at 9:09 AM
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MANILA, Philippines, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- An estimated 150,000 mourners braved heavy rains Wednesday to say a final goodbye to former Philippines President Corazon Aquino.

The mourners joined in the funeral procession, escorting through Manila's streets a truck bearing Aquino's wooden casket -- draped with a Philippines flag and surrounded by flowers -- to the grave site next to her husband, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

Aquino died Saturday of cancer. She was 76.

Aquino's son, Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino III and other relatives were in a vehicle next to the truck carrying their mother's remains, the newspaper said.

"Thank you to all of you. I'm sure my mother and father are watching from up above. You want to continue the fight. With your help, we can do that," Aquino told the crowd. "We are still in mourning, but in the coming days, we will continue the fight."

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom Aquino turned against over accusations of corruption in her administration, paid her last respects, shaking hands with Sen. Aquino and praying over the casket, the Daily Inquirer said. The family rejected Arroyo's offer to hold a state funeral.

During the funeral service at Manila Cathedral, the former leader's daughter, Kris Aquino-Yap, said her parents' sacrifices were worthwhile, GMANews reported. Her father, Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., was assassinated in 1983, sparking the 1986 "people power" revolt that toppled the dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.

"You have given our family honor beyond anything we could ever have hoped to receive," Aquino-Yap said, "(No) matter how great the sacrifices of my parents, I can honestly say to all of you that for my family, the Filipinos are worth it."

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