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Corazon “Cory” Aquino

June 3, 2011

symbol of people power – Aquino was the symbol of People Power and an inspiration to others around the world struggling against tyranny. The widow of popular opposition leader Benigno Aquino, who was murdered at Manila airport in 1983 on his return from exile in Boston, she showed a quiet courage that moved millions. To Filipinos, who are devoutly Catholic, she was both Mater Dolorosa and Joan of Arc. When an icon becomes President, however, she loses her shine. Running against Marcos in an election prior to People Power, Aquino did not present a political platform. Instead, she would tell the story of her husband’s homecoming and death. Filipinos saw their suffering mirrored in hers. “I am like you,” she told them. “I am a victim of Marcos.” Yet Aquino is not like most of us Filipinos. Born to privilege, she was the dutiful political wife, who stayed in the background while her husband, also from a wealthy family that had held public office for generations, was on the fast track. He believed that one day he would be President. That office would be hers instead. Aquino’s six-year presidency was marred by attempted military coups, human-rights abuses by a still-powerful army, and general incompetence. She is also blamed for resurrecting a political system dominated by élite clans, causing disappointed supporters to say that she could not transcend the interests of her class. But she will always be remembered for uniting Filipinos in their fight for freedom. Today, Aquino, 73, remains a political and moral force. “I don’t know how [people] will judge my presidency,” she says, “but I hope they will realize it was not easy restoring democracy after a dictatorship.” For sure it was not. And we Filipinos will always be grateful that Corazon Aquino was there when we needed her most (60 Years of Asian Heroes).

sincerity – “What on earth do I know about being president?” Mrs. Aquino said in an interview in December 1985, after a rally opening her election campaign. But that was beside the point. For many Filipinos, she embodied a hope of becoming a better nation and a prouder people. “The only thing I can really offer the Filipino people is my sincerity,” she said in the interview. It was what they hungered for, and what she delivered as president. Although often criticized as an indecisive and ineffectual leader, Mrs. Aquino combined passivity and stubbornness and an unexpected shrewdness to hold firm against powerful opponents from both the right and the left. Her survival in office was one of her chief accomplishments. She was succeeded by Fidel V. Ramos, whose challenge to Mr. Marcos was a catalyst for the uprising in 1986 and whose support as Mrs. Aquino’s military chief was crucial to her in quelling coup attempts (Corazon Aquino, Ex-Leader of Philippines, Is Dead).

Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino (January 25, 1933 – August 1, 2009) was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office in Philippine history. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines. She is considered an icon of democracy, and was titled by TIME Magazine in 1986 as its ‘Woman of the Year’. A self-proclaimed “plain housewife”, Aquino was married to Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., the staunchest critic of then President Ferdinand Marcos. Senator Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983 upon returning to the Philippines after three years in exile in the United States. After her husband’s assassination, Aquino emerged as the leader of the opposition against the Marcos administration. In late 1985, when President Marcos called for a snap election, Aquino ran for president with former senator Salvador Laurel as her vice-presidential running mate. After the elections were held on February 7, 1986, the Batasang Pambansa proclaimed him the winner in the elections, Aquino called for massive civil disobedience protests, declaring herself as having been cheated and as the real winner in the elections. Filipinos enthusiastically heeded her call and rallied behind her. These series of events eventually led to the ousting of Marcos and the installation of Aquino as President of the Philippines on February 25, 1986 through the People Power Revolution (Wikepedia).

RELATED READING:
Official Web-site: Corazon “Cory” Aquino
Official Web-site: I am Ninoy I am Cory
Official Web-site: People Power
Asians of the Century
Woman of the Year
Corazon “Cory” Aquino, A Woman of Valor
Corazon Aquino Biography
Corazon “Cory” Aquino’s Life in Photos
Corazon Cory Aquino Tribute: People Power (Video)

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