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Philippines Prays for Ailing Former President Corazon Aquino

Prayers and masses are being held across the Philippines for the recovery of cancer-stricken former President Corazon Aquino. The democracy icon is battling colon cancer.

Mrs. Aquino's son, Senator Benigno Aquino III said in a statement that the former Philippine president is stable and conscious, but would remain in the hospital. She is being treated for a build-up of fluid in her stomach and had been confined in the intensive care unit until Thursday.

Worried supporters and friends across the mostly Roman Catholic nation and Filipinos overseas have started novenas, or nine-day prayers, and held masses for her recovery. Even figures from the opposite side of the political fence, such as former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, offered prayers for Mrs. Aquino.

Deedee Siytangco, Mrs. Aquino's spokeswoman, says Mrs. Aquino is aware of the outpouring of concern and thanks those praying for her.

Mrs. Aquino, 76, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008 and underwent surgery to remove part of her colon in April.

Cory Aquino, a widow-turned-democracy icon, ran for president in 1986 against the authoritarian leader Ferdinand Marcos. She became the country's leading opposition figure overnight, after her husband, Senator Benigno Aquino Junior, was assassinated upon returning from exile in 1983.

Mrs. Aquino was installed as president after peaceful street protests called "people power" movement ousted Mr. Marcos in 1986.

Several coup attempts by disgruntled members of the military severely tested her government, and she was criticized for comprising her reform agenda in favor of the country's big landowners, including her own family. In recent years, she has become a critic of President Gloria Arroyo and has led demonstrations demanding her resignation for alleged corruption.