Cory in 'serious' condition

MANILA - Friends and supporters of former President Corazon Aquino on Wednesday said that the democracy icon's current condition is "serious" after she was admitted to the Makati Medical Center last week.

At the start of the 9-day healing mass for Mrs. Aquino at the Greenbelt Chapel in Makati City, no one admitted the actual condition of the former leader, but former senator Franklin Drilon, a close supporter, admitted she is undergoing "something serious."

Margie Juico, Mrs. Aquino's social secretary, confirmed that the former president's condition is serious, but pleaded to the public to not dwell on her condition and pray for her instead.

Before her latest admission to the hospital, Mrs. Aquino would prefer "being with Ninoy," her late husband--that is, if given a choice. Juico stressed, however, that Mrs. Aquino has reiterated that she is still continuing her battle with cancer for her children.

Juico planned the 9-day novena and mass. Broadcaster Korina Sanchez read the novena prayer on Wednesday, the first day. (Sanchez, who is engaged to Senator Mar Roxas, chose Mrs. Aquino to be one of their wedding sponsors.)

Among those who attended the Wednesday novena and mass were her spokesperson Deedee Sytangco, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Gina de Venecia, Black and White Movement members Leah Navarro and Dinky Soliman, and industrialist Jose Concepcion.

Meanwhile, at Saint Scholastica's College in Manila, Mrs. Aquino's former classmates also offered a community prayer service for her speedy recovery.

Only family members

Sytangco, in a phone interview with ABS-CBN News, said that only family members can visit Mrs. Aquino at the hospital. Sytangco said the family members stayed with Mrs. Aquino in the hospital and did not attend the novena.

Mrs. Aquino has been confined in a hospital since Tuesday last week due to poor appetite.

In a statement, Mrs. Aquino's only son, Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, said that she is still in the hospital for loss of appetite.

"I wish to thank everyone who attended the novena mass today and those who continue to pray for my mother's healing," Sen. Aquino said.

Mrs. Aquino's condition is "serious but [she is] conscious," Sytangco later told ABS-CBN News.

According to ABS-CBN News sources, her blood pressure is normal, but she still cannot eat.

Already in ICU

Jiggy Aquino-Cruz, a grandson of the former president, confirmed with ABS-CBN News that she has been transferred to the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) where doctors are closely monitoring her condition.

The transfer to the ICU also meant only a limited number of people could visit her at a time, Cruz said. He did not give details about Mrs. Aquino's present medical condition.

Cruz, who has yet to personally visit her grandmother due to strict rules on visitors, said one of his aunts is with Mrs. Aquino in the ICU.

Despite being a news story closely monitored by both local and international media, the administration of Makati Medical City is not releasing any medical bulletin about the former leader's condition.

She was diagnosed with colon cancer back in March 2008, and underwent surgery last April.

Senators concerned

Several politicians have also expressed concern over Mrs. Aquino's health condition.

"I have heard the news that President Cory Aquino is undergoing a difficult time in her illness. I join our people in the prayers for her quick recovery. President Cory is one of the great leaders I respect and emulate," Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas said in a statement.

"Mrs. President, please fight on, we need you," Roxas added.

"I enjoin the Filipino nation to offer a prayer for former Pres. Cory Aquino, as she enters a critical period in the battle against cancer," a statement from Senator Manuel Villar read.

"We will forever be indebted to President Cory for her significant contribution to the restoration of democracy in the country. In this time when there are serious threats to our democracy, she remains the icon that our people turn to for hope," Villar's statement said.

"Our prayers are also with the members of her family. May their unshakeable faith in God strengthen them in this difficult time," the statement added.


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