THE children of former President and People Power icon Corazon “Cory” Aquino led prayers at the family mausoleum in Paranaque City to commemorate their mother’s 77th birth anniversary Monday.

Pinky Abellada, Ballsy Cruz, and Viel Dee, accompanied by at least 50 supporters clad in yellow, prayed at the Aquino mausoleum in Manila Memorial Park following a Mass officiated by the family’s spiritual adviser Fr. Catalino Arevalo.

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Ballsy said her mother's birthday had been always special to them, adding that when she was still alive, she would always cook for the family and their friends.

“Masakit pa rin ang kanyang pagpanaw pero dahil sa suporta ng mga kaibigan at kakilala at ng lahat ng mga nagmamahal sa kanya ito ang nagpapalakas sa amin,” Ballsy said.

Pinky, for her part, said they kept remembering their mother in the past days as her birthday was drawing nearer.

But Senator and Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and Kris Yap were not present at the gathering. Noynoy went to the unveiling of a statue of their mother in Manila while Kris was at work.

The monument depicted a smiling Cory Aquino flashing the Laban sign in one hand while the other holds a copy of the 1987 Constitution.

Her image was carved wearing the dress she had on when she appeared before the US Congress months after the 1986 Edsa Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.

The monument was built at the Luneta Park, at the corner of Roxas Boulevard and Padre Burgos Avenue in Manila, across the historic Manila Hotel.

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said the monument was one way of honoring the contribution of the former President for the country’s fight for democracy and change especially against the Marcos dictatorship.

Coinciding with Aquino’s 77th birthday, a youth group launched a signature campaign in Davao City, to support the presidential candidacy of her son.

Some 4,000 youths signed the “Lagda ng Pagkakaisa para kay Kuya Noynoy Aquino” at the University of Mindanao Tagum College where Davao del Norte Governor Rodolfo Del Rosario and his son Antonio del Rosario welcomed the Advocates of Youth and Students for Noynoy Aquino (Ayos Na).

No less than actor Dingdong Dantes received the “Lagda ng Pagkakaisa” document given to him by the head of the Sangguniang Kabataan Provincial Federation.

“The thousands of youth signatures affixed on the Lagda ng Pagkakaisa clearly prove that Kuya Noynoy has captured the imagination of the youth, belying claims made by other presidential bets that the youth is on their side,” Dantes said.

“Kuya Noynoy may not be a fine orator compared to other presidential candidates, but his message is simple and clear: Hindi ako magnanakaw,” he added.

In Matina Town Square located at Davao City later that afternoon, almost 2,000 youths and their leaders launched the Ayos Na Davao Region Chapter with Dantes and Councilor Mabel Acosta who represented Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Ayos Na Chapters have been organized in Metro Manila, Pampangam and Cagayan de Oro since November last year.

Ayos Na Secretary General Elmer Argano stated: “As we link arms with fellow Christian, Muslim, and Lumad youths in the Davao Region, we highlight the common theme Towards Young Tri-People Unity for Noynoy in recognition of the important roles played by these three communities in the development and social peace of the region.” (AH/Sunnex)