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Corazon Aquino

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Corazon C. Aquino
Corazon Aquino

11th President of the Philippines
1st President of the 5th Republic
In office
February 25, 1986 – June 30, 1992
Vice President(s)   Salvador Laurel
Preceded by Ferdinand Marcos
Succeeded by Fidel V. Ramos

Born January 25, 1933
Manila, Philippines
Political party United Nationalists Democratic Organizations (UNIDO)
Spouse Benigno Aquino Jr.
Religion Roman Catholic

Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco–Aquino (born January 25, 1933), widely known as 'Cory Aquino', was President of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992. She is Asia's first female President. She is the wife of the popular opposition senator Benigno Aquino Jr., and when he was assassinated at then Manila International Airport on his return from exile on August 21, 1983, she became the focus of the opposition to the autocratic rule of President Ferdinand Marcos.


[edit] Early life and career

Corazon Cojuangco was born in Manila into one of the richest Chinese-mestizo families in the Philippines, the powerful Cojuangcos of Tarlac province. Her mother's family, the Sumulongs, also belong to a political Chinese Filipino family in Rizal.

Growing up in a privileged family, she was sent to St. Scholastica's College and finished grade school in 1943. She was sent overseas to study in Ravenhill Academy in Philadelphia, the Notre Dame Convent School in New York, and College of Mount Saint Vincent, also in New York. She studied mathematics and graduated with a degree in French in 1953.

She returned to the Philippines to study law at Far Eastern University, but in 1955 she married Benigno Aquino Jr., who had just been elected mayor of Concepción in Tarlac province at the age of 22. She eventually bore him five children: a son, Benigno III, and four daughters, Maria Elena Aquino, Aurora Corazon Aquino, Victoria Eliza Aquino, and TV host Kris Aquino. Ninoy rose to be governor and senator, then under the Marcos regime was arrested, sentenced to death, and exiled. She accompanied him into exile in 1980. He was later assassinated on August 21, 1983 upon arrival from a 3-year exile in the United States at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport, which was later renamed in his honor. After his death she was convinced by the friends and supporters of Ninoy to enter into politics as head of the Laban coalition.

She is also the first Filipino to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize after leading the bloodless EDSA revolution during the time of Marcos. Article here.

[edit] Presidential campaign 1986

On the last week of November, 1985, President Ferdinand Marcos shocked the entire nation when he called for a snap presidential election to be held in February 1986; at first the opposition United Nationalists Democratic Organizations (UNIDO) as the main political umbrella of the opposition supported Senator Salvador Laurel of Batangas as its standard bearer, but business tycoon Don Joaquin Chino Roces was not convinced that Laurel could defeat Marcos in the polls. Roces initiated the Cory Aquino for President Movement to gather one million signatures in one week for Cory to run as president; Aquino was convinced to run initially as Vice President, but Laurel gave way to Cory to run as President and ran as her running-mate.

The campaign was made in the month of January 1986, for the February elections. Although she was officially reported to have lost the election to Marcos, the elections were widely believed to be fraudulent. Both Marcos and Aquino claimed to have won, and held rival inaugurations on February 25, but Marcos then fled in the face of huge nonviolent popular demonstrations and his refusal to allow the military to intervene against them.

[edit] Presidency

Time Magazine's Woman of the Year.
Time Magazine's Woman of the Year.

Despite the euphoria following the overthrow of the Marcos government, Aquino faced the massive challenge of restoring the nation. She established a revolutionary government under the terms of a provisional "Freedom Constitution", legally establishing the structure of the government pending the adoption of a permanent, democratically-drafted constitution. In late 1986, the Aquino administration appointed a Constitutional Commission to draft the new constitution. It was ratified on February 7, 1987. Congressional and local elections soon followed, setting up a government based on popular and democratic mandate.

Aquino drew praise for her support for democracy, and was selected as Time Magazine's Woman of the Year in 1986. Despite her enormous personal popularity and that of the new constitution, Aquino continued to face repeated military coup attempts and communist insurrection. Marcos loyalists continued to oppose the government, culminating in a failed July 1986 attempt to establish a rival government at the Manila Hotel, with Arturo Tolentino as temporary president. A more serious threat came from an attempted coup in August 1987 which was repeated in December 1989. Both military coups were led by Col. Gregorio Honasan. The Aquino administration was continually plagued by rumors of coup attempts.

November, 1986: President Aquino waves as she walks with Japanese Emperor Hirohito, right, at the Akasaka Guest House in Tokyo.
November, 1986: President Aquino waves as she walks with Japanese Emperor Hirohito, right, at the Akasaka Guest House in Tokyo.

In the 1992 Philippine elections, though eligible to run for a second term, Aquino backed her then Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos, Marcos' army chief-of-staff whose defection to the Aquino party proved crucial to the popular revolution. This decision was unpopular among many of her core supporters, including the Roman Catholic Church (Ramos is a Protestant). Ramos narrowly won with just 23.5 percent of the vote, and succeeded Aquino as president on June 30, 1992.

[edit] Post-presidency

President Aquino's official portrait since 2003
President Aquino's official portrait since 2003

Following the end of her term, Aquino retired to private life. When she rode away from the inauguration of her successor, she chose to go in a simple white Toyota Crown she had purchased (rather than the government-issue Mercedes), to make the point that she was once again an ordinary citizen. She has directed a number of projects that aim at furthering the spread of democracy in Asia.

In 1998, she supported Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim for the presidency. Lim however landed in the 5th place in the May 1998 election where Joseph Estrada won in a landslide victory.

Aquino was the recipient of the 1998 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding with President of the Philippines Joseph Estrada as the guest-of-honor. In 2002, Aquino received an honorary doctorate from Seattle University in Washington.

In January 2001, Aquino was instrumental in the success of the second EDSA Revolution, a four-day popular revolt that peacefully overthrew Philippine president Joseph Estrada that led Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the presidency.

In 2005, Aquino condemned Arroyo, the current president, for allegedly rigging the 2004 electoral process. In February 2006, Aquino joined protestors demonstrating against Arroyo on EDSA, after an alleged coup attempt by members of the Filipino military.

In October 2005, she was awarded one of the World's Elite Women Who Make a Difference by the International Women's Forum Hall of Fame of 2005**.

In November 2006, she was hailed by Time Magazine as one of the great Asian Heroes.

[edit] Awards and Achievements

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Agoncillo, Teodoro A. (1990). History of the Filipino People.
  • Zaide, Sonia M. (1999). The Philippines: A Unique Nation. All Nations Publishing. ISBN 971-642-071-4.

[edit] External link

Preceded by:
Ferdinand E. Marcos
President of the Philippines
Succeeded by:
Fidel V. Ramos

Presidents of the Philippines - List
Seal of the President of the Philippines
  Aguinaldo | Quezon | Osmeña | Laurel | Roxas | Quirino | Magsaysay  
  Garcia | Macapagal | Marcos | Aquino | Ramos | Estrada | Arroyo   
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