Corazon C. Aquino

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Corazon C. Aquino
Philippine president aquino.jpg
11th President of the Philippines
Last President of the 4th Republic
President of the Revolutionary Government of 1986
1st President of the 5th Republic
In office
February 25, 1986 - June 30, 1992
Born January 25, 1933
Paniqui, Philippines
Died August 1, 2009
Makati Medical Center, Makati, Philippines

party = United Nationalists Democratic Organizations (UNIDO)

Spouse Benigno Aquino, Jr.

Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino (25 January 1933-1 August 2009), more popularly known as "Cory Aquino", was Asia's first female President. She held office as the 11th President of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992, after the EDSA Revolution of 1986.

The widow of popular opposition senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., she became the focus of the opposition to the autocratic rule of President Ferdinand Marcos after Ninoy was assassinated at then Manila International Airport on his return from exile on 21 August 1983.

Contents

Early life and education

Corazon Cojuangco was born the sixth of eight children in Tarlac,<ref name=sb/> a member of one of the richest Chinese-mestizo families in the Philippines.<ref name=campaign>Branigin, William. "Aquino's 'Flesh-to-Flesh Campaign'", The Washington Post, 1986-02-02, p. A1. Retrieved on 2009-07-28. </ref><ref name=pi>Pico Iyer. "Corazon Aquino", Time Magazine, 1987-01-05. Retrieved on 2008-03-26. </ref> She was born to Jose Cojuangco of Tarlac and Demetria Sumulong of Antipolo, Rizal. Her ancestry was one-eighth Tagalog in maternal side, one-eighth Kapampangan and one-fourth Spanish in her paternal side, and half-Chinese in both maternal and paternal sides.

She was sent to St. Scholastica's College Manila and finished grade school as class valedictorian in 1943. In 1946, she studied high school for one year in Assumption Convent Manila. Later she was sent overseas to study in Ravenhill Academy in Philadelphia, the Notre Dame Convent School in New York, and the College of Mount Saint Vincent, also in New York.<ref name=campaign/> She worked as a volunteer in the 1948 United States presidential campaign of Republican Thomas Dewey against President Harry Truman.<ref name=sb>Sandra Burton. "Time 100: Corazon Aquino", Time Magazine, 1999-08-23. Retrieved on 2008-03-26. </ref> She studied liberal arts and graduated in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts in French Language, with a minor in mathematics. She intended to become a math teacher and language interpreter.

Married life

Corazon Aquino and Benigno Aquino Jr. get married in 1954.

Aquino returned to the Philippines to study law at the Far Eastern University, owned by the family of the late Nicanor Reyes, Sr., who had been the father-in-law of her older sister Josephine. She gave up her law studies<ref name=fbio>Biography of Corazon C. Aquino. Fulbright Association. Retrieved on 2008-04-15.</ref> when in 1954, she married Benigno Servillano "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., the son of a former Speaker of the National Assembly. They had five children together: a son, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, who was elected to the Philippine Senate in 2007, and four daughters, Maria Elena A. Cruz, Aurora Corazon A. Abellada, Victoria Eliza A. Dee, and actress-television host Kristina Bernadette A. Yap. Aquino had initial difficulty adjusting to provincial life when she and her husband moved to Concepcion, Tarlac in 1955, after her husband had been elected the town's mayor at the age of 22. The American-educated Aquino found herself bored in Concepcion, welcoming opportunities when she and her husband would have dinner inside the American military facility at nearby Clark Field.<ref name=lt>Lorna Kalaw-Tirol (2000). Public Faces, Private Lives. Pasig City, Philippines: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2–23. ISBN 971-27-0851-9. </ref>

A member of the Liberal Party, Aquino's husband rose to be governor of Tarlac, and was elected to the Philippine Senate in 1967. During her husband's political career, Aquino remained a housewife who helped raise the children and played hostess to her spouse's political allies who would frequent their Quezon City home.<ref name=pi/> She would decline to join her husband on stage during campaign rallies, preferring instead to stand at the back of the audience in order to listen to him. Nonetheless, she was consulted upon on political matters by her husband, who valued her judgments enormously.

Benigno Aquino soon emerged as a leading critic of the government of President Ferdinand Marcos of the Nacionalista Party, and there was wide speculation that he would run in the 1973 presidential elections, Marcos then being term limited. However, Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972, and later abolished the 1935 Constitution, allowing him to remain in office. Aquino's husband was among those arrested at the onset of martial law, later being sentenced to death. During his incarceration, Aquino drew strength from prayer, attending daily mass and saying three rosaries a day.As a measure of sacrifice, she enjoined her children from attending parties, and herself stopped from going to the beauty salon or buying new clothes, until a priest advised her and her children to instead live as normal lives as possible.

In 1978, despite her initial opposition, Aquino's imprisoned husband decided to run the 1978 Batasang Pambansa elections. Aquino campaigned in behalf of her imprisoned husband and for the first time in her life, delivered a political speech, though she willingly relinquished having to speak in public when it emerged that her six-year old daughter Kris was more than willing to speak on stage.

In 1980, upon the intervention of United States President Jimmy Carter, Marcos allowed Senator Aquino and his family leave for exile in the United States, where he sought medical treatment. The family settled in Boston, and Aquino would later call the next three years as the happiest days of her marriage. He returned without his family to the Philippines on August 21, 1983, only to be assassinated at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport, which was later renamed in his honor. Aquino returned to the Philippines a few days later and led her husband's funeral rites, where more than two million people were estimated to have participated, the biggest ever in Philippine history.

1986 Presidential campaign

EDSA Revolution in the Philippines in February 1986 showing hundreds of thousands of people filling up Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA). The view is looking northbound towards the Boni Serrano Avenue-EDSA intersection.

Aquino participated in many of the mass actions that were staged in the two years following the assassination of her husband. In the last week of November 1985, Marcos unexpectedly announced a snap presidential election to be held in February 1986.<ref>Milt Freudenheim, Henry Giniger & Richard Levine. "Marcos Moves Toward A Vote", New York Times, 1985-11-17. Retrieved on 2008-04-15. </ref> Initially, Senator Salvador Laurel of Batangas, the son of a former president, was seen as the favorite presidential candidate of the opposition, under the United Nationalists Democratic Organizations. However, 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 Aquino to run as president.

Aquino was reluctant at first to run for presidency, despite pleas that she was the one candidate who could unite the opposition against Marcos.<ref name=pi/> She eventually was convinced following a ten-hour meditation session at a Catholic convent.<ref name=sb/> Laurel did not immediately accede to calls for him to give way to Aquino, and offered her the vice-presidential slot under his UNIDO party. Aquino instead offered to give up her affiliation with her husband's political party, the Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN), which had just merged with Partido Demokratiko Pilipino, and run under the UNIDO banner with Laurel sliding down to the vice-presidential slot.<ref name=pi/> Laurel gave way to Aquino to run as President and ran as her running-mate under UNIDO as the main political umbrella of the opposition.

In the succeeding political campaign, Marcos charged that Aquino was being supported by communists and agreed to share power with them, to which she responded that she would not appoint one to her cabinet.<ref>Milt Freudenheim & Richard Levine. "A Marcos Charge Irks Mrs. Aquino", New York Times, 1986-01-12. Retrieved on 2008-04-15. </ref> Marcos also accused Aquino of playing "political football" with the United States with respect to the continued United States military presence in the Philippines at Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base.<ref>United Press International. "Marcos Says Rival Trifles With U.S. Bases", New York Times, 1985-12-31. Retrieved on 2008-04-15. </ref> Marcos also derided Aquino as "just a woman" whose place was in the bedroom.<ref name=fb/>

The elections held on February 7, 1986 were marred by the intimidation and mass disenfranchisement of voters.<ref name=pi/> Election day itself and the days immediately after were marred by violence, including the murder of one of Aquino's top allies, Antique governor Evelio Javier. While the official tally of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) consistently showed Marcos in the lead, the unofficial tally of the National Movement for Free Elections indicated that Aquino was leading. Despite the job walkout of 30 COMELEC computer technicians alleging election-rigging in favor of Marcos,<ref name=pi/> the Batasang Pambansa, controlled by Marcos allies, ratified the official count and proclaimed Marcos the winner on February 15, 1986.<ref>Susan Tifft. "The Philippines Now the Hard Part", Time Magazine, 1986-03-10. Retrieved on 2008-04-15. </ref> The country's Catholic bishops and the United States Senate condemned the election,<ref name=pi/> and Aquino called for a general strike and a boycott of business enterprises controlled by Marcos allies.<ref name=bbc>"Filipino coup leaders tell Marcos to go", BBC, 1986-02-22. Retrieved on 2008-04-15. </ref> She also rejected a power-sharing agreement proposed by the American diplomat Philip Habib, who had been sent as an emissary by U.S. President Ronald Reagan to help defuse the tension.<ref name=bbc/>

Installation as President

On February 22, 1986, the People Power Revolution was triggered after two key Marcos allies, Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces Vice-Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos called on Marcos to resign and holed up in two military camps in Quezon City.<ref name=bbc/> Aquino, who was in Cebu City when the revolt broke out, returned to Manila and insisted on joining the swelling crowd that had gathered outside the camps as a human barricade to protect the defectors.<ref> Sheila Coronel. "Remembering EDSA: 20 People and their Lives 20 Years since People Power", Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, January-February 2006. Retrieved on 2008-04-15. </ref> On the morning of 25 February 1986, at the Club Filipino in San Juan, Aquino took the presidential oath of office administered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee. Marcos himself was sworn into office at Malacañang Palace on that same day, but fled into exile later that night.

Presidency

Cory Aquino in Times magazine as Woman of the Year

In his book Cory, Profile of a President: The Historic Rise to Power of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, Isabelo T. Crisostomo states that Cory Aquino is different from other Presidents of the Philippines in that:

  1. She is the first female President of the Philippines.
  2. She is the first President without any political experience as she had not held any other elective office.
  3. She is the only President of the Philippines who became a candidate by "direct draft" or endorsement of 1.2 million Filipinos who signed a resolution urging her to run for President.
  4. She became President after a "snap" election, not a regular Presidential election.
  5. She won the election not on the basis of an actual number of votes counted in her favor, but on the basis of a proclamation ("A People's Resolution" signed by 150 people) by military revolutionists and opposition members of the Batasang Pambansa.<ref name="test7">Cory, Profile of a President: The Historic Rise to Power of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. Book by Isabelo T. Crisostomo (1987)(accessed November 10, 2007).</ref>

As the new President of the Philippines, Cory Aquino faced the massive task of restoring the nation. She established a revolutionary government under a provisionary "Freedom Constitution" pending the adoption of a permanent, democratically-drafted constitution. In late 1986, the Aquino government appointed a fifty-member Constitutional Commission, drawn from all sectors of society, to draft a new constitution. One of the world's most lengthy and detailed constitutions, the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, was completed in record time and overwhelmingly ratified by the Filipino people on 7 February 1987. In the Congressional elections that followed, Cory Aquino's allies garnered 22 out of 24 Senate seats and majority of the House seats. Local elections soon followed.<ref name="test12">Biography of Corazon Aquino. The 1998 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding.</ref>

Cory Aquino endeavored to reconcile the different factions in her government. She appointed Fidel Ramos as head of the armed forces and retained Juan Ponce Enrile as defense chief. At the same time, she appointed human rights advocates such as Joker Arroyo and Rene Saguisag to cabinet posts. She lifted the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and freed political prisoners, including Communist Party Chairman Jose Maria Sison and New People's Army supremo Bernabe Buscayno. She went to Davao City to preside at a people's meeting where multi-sectoral groups presented their comments and suggestions, and later met with a group of Communist Party guerrillas to whom she extended amnesty. She made free secondary schooling mandatory in public schools. <ref name="test12">Biography of Corazon Aquino. The 1998 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding.</ref><ref name="test7">Cory, Profile of a President: The Historic Rise to Power of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. Book by Isabelo T. Crisostomo (1987)(accessed November 10, 2007).</ref>

Despite her popularity and the popularity of the new constitution, Cory Aquino continued to face repeated military coup attempts and communist insurrections. Marcos loyalists continued to oppose the government, even attempting to establish a rival government at the Manila Hotel, with Arturo Tolentino as temporary president, in July 1986. A more serious threat came from attempted coups, one in November 1986, when some 1200 soldiers led by Col. Gregorio Honasan tried to take over the government in a plot called "God Save the Queen". In August 1987, soldiers attempted to storm Malacañang and the headquarters of the armed forces, an attempt repeated in December 1989. All in all, there were seven coup attempts during Cory Aquino's presidency, and countless rumors of such attempts. There were also major natural disasters: the massive earthquake in 1990 and supertyphoon Thelma and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. <ref name="test12">Biography of Corazon Aquino. The 1998 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding.</ref>

Although eligible to run for a second term, Cory Aquino chose to back her then Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos as candidate for President in the May 1992 elections, an unpopular decision among many of her core supporters, including the Roman Catholic Church (Ramos is a Protestant). Ramos won with 23.6 percent of the vote, and succeeded Aquino as president on January 20, 1993.<ref name="test12">Biography of Corazon Aquino. The 1998 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding.</ref>

Four years later, on 11 October 1996, the 42nd anniversary of her marriage to Ninoy, Corazon Aquino was awarded the J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding at the U.S. Department of State. In her address, she stated her reason for being the only Philippine President who had the opportunity to seek reelection but did not take it:<ref name="test16">Fulbright Prize Address of Corazon Aquino in 1996. (Accessed November 9, 2007).</ref>

Constitutional and law reform

One month after assuming the presidency, Aquino issued Proclamation No. 3, which proclaimed her government as a revolutionary government. She suspended the 1973 Constitution installed during martial law, and promulgated a provisional “Freedom Constitution” pending the enactment of a new Constitution.<ref>Joaquin G. Bernas (1995). The Intent of the 1986 Constitution Writers. Manila, Philippines: Rex Book Store, 2–4. ISBN 9712319344. </ref> She likewise closed the Batasang Pambansa and reorganized the membership of the Supreme Court. In May 1986, the reorganized Supreme Court declared the Aquino government as “not merely a de facto government but in fact and law a de jure government”, whose legitimacy had been affirmed by the community of nations.<ref>Template:Cite court</ref>

Aquino appointed 48 members of a Constitutional Commission tasked with drafting a new Constitution. The commission, which was chaired by retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma completed its final draft in October 1986<ref>Bernas, p. 19</ref> The 1987 Constitution was approved in a national plebiscite in February 1987. Both the “Freedom Constitution” and the 1987 Constitution authorized President Aquino to exercise legislative power until such time a new Congress was organized.<ref>See Section 1, Article II, Freedom Constitution & Section 6, Article XVIII, 1987 Constitution</ref> She continued to exercise such powers until the new Congress organized under the 1987 Constitution convened in July 1987. Within that period, Aquino promulgated two legal codes that set forth significant legal reforms—the Family Code of 1987, which reformed the civil law on family relations, and the Administrative Code of 1987, which reorganized the structure of the executive branch of government.

However, as President instead of repudiating debts incurred by the former regime or repudiating the debts through selective debt repudiation Mrs. Aquino chose to honor the debts to the detriment of the country.<ref>Time Magazine Almanac, 1988</ref>In 1991, Aquino signed into law the Local Government Code partly written by Aquilino Pimentel, which further devolved national government powers to local government units. The new Code enhanced the power of local government units to enact local taxation measures, and assured them of a share of the national internal revenue.

Agrarian reform

File:Corazon Aquino 1992.jpg
President Corazon Aquino addresses base workers at a rally at Remy Field concerning jobs for Filipino workers after the Americans withdraw from the U.S. facilities.

On July 22, 1987, Aquino issued Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order 229, which outlined the President’s land reform program, and expanded land reform to sugar lands. Her agrarian reform policy was enacted into law by the 8th Congress of the Philippines, which in 1988 passed Republic Act No. 6657, also known as “The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law”. The law authorized the redistribution of agricultural lands to tenant-farmers from landowners, who were paid in exchange by the government just compensation and allowed to retain not more than five hectares of land.<ref>Section 6, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law</ref> Corporate landowners were also allowed under the law to “voluntarily divest a proportion of their capital stock, equity or participation in favor of their workers or other qualified beneficiaries”, in lieu of turning over their land to the government for redistribution.<ref>Section 31, Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law</ref> The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in 1989, characterizing the agrarian reform policy as “a revolutionary kind of expropriation.”<ref>Template:Cite court</ref>

Prior to signing CARP a large farmer's group under Jimmy Tadeo tried desperately to air their grievances to the government. Among their grievances was the desire of peasants and farmers to acquire the land being tilled by them. However, instead of holding a dialogue with Heherson Alvarez, the group marched to Mendiola; as the group of farmers tried to breach the line of the police, several Marines fired, killing around 12 of the marchers and injuring 39. This caused Ka Pepe Diokno and several members of the Aquino government to resign. <ref>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mendiola_massacre</ref>

Controversies eventually centered on the landholdings of Aquino, who inherited from her parents the 6,453-hectare large Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, which was owned through the Tarlac Development Company.<ref name=pdihl>Russell Arador. "Life once 'sweeter' at Hacienda Luisita", Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2007-05-04. Retrieved on 2008-03-25. </ref> Opting for the stock distribution option under the agrarian reform law, Tarlac Development Company established Hacienda Luisita, Incorporated (HLI) in order to effect the distribution of stocks to the farmer-tenants of the hacienda. Ownership of the agricultural portions of the hacienda were transferred to the new corporation, which in turn distributed its shares of stocks to the farmers.<ref name=pdihl/> The arrangement withstood until 2006, when the Department of Agrarian Reform revoked the stock distribution scheme implemented in Hacienda Luisita, and ordered instead the redistribution of a large portion of the property to the tenant-farmers.<ref>Rio N. Araja. "DAR prepares takeover of Cory hacienda", Manila Standard Today, 2006-05-05. Retrieved on 2008-03-25. </ref> The Department had stepped into the controversy when in 2004, violence erupted over the retrenchment of workers in the Hacienda, eventually leaving seven people dead.<ref name=pdihl/>

Military insurrections

File:Corazon Aquino at Andrews AFB DF-SC-88-01605.JPEG
President Aquino greets officials as she walks across the flight line to the passenger terminal at Andrews Air Force Base.

From 1986 to 1989, Aquino was confronted with a series of attempts<ref>The Davide Commission Report identified seven such attempts: (1) the July 1986 Manila Hotel incident; (2) the November 1986 "God Save the Queen" plot; (3) the January 1987 GMA-7 incident; (4) the April 1987 "Black Saturday" incident; (5) the July 1987 takeover plot of the Manila International Airport; (6) the August 1987 coup attempt; and (7) the December 1989 coup attempt. The Davide Fact-Finding Commission (1990). The Final Report of the Fact-Finding Commission (pursuant to R.A. No. 6832) "Davide Commission Report". Makati City: Bookmark Inc. ISBN 971-569-003-3. </ref> at military interventions by some members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, aimed at the overthrow of the Aquino government. Most of these attempts were instigated by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), a group of middle-ranking officers closely linked with Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile.<ref>Davide Commission Report, p. 119</ref> Soldiers loyal to former President Marcos were likewise involved in some of these attempts. The first five of the attempts were either crushed before they were put in operation, or repelled with minimal or no violence. The sixth attempt, staged on August 28, 1987, left 53 people dead and over 200 wounded, including Aquino's son, Noynoy.<ref name=dc200>Davide Commission Report, p. 200</ref> The seventh and final attempt, which occurred throughout the first week of December, 1989, ended with 99 dead (including 50 civilians) and 570 wounded.<ref>Davide Commission Report, p. 376</ref>

The coup attempts would collectively impair the Aquino government, even though it survived, as it indicated political instability, an unruly military, and diminished the confidence of foreign investors in the Philippine economy.<ref>Karnow, Stanley (1989). In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-32816-7. </ref> The 1989 coup alone resulted in combined financial losses of between 800 million to 1 billion pesos.<ref>Davide Commission Report, p. 378</ref>

The November 1986 and August 1987 coup plots would also lead to significant reorganizations within the Aquino government. Given the apparent involvement of Defense Secretary Enrile in the November 1986 plot, a fact which was reaffirmed by the Davide Commission Report,<ref>Davide Commission Report, pp. 148–155</ref> Aquino fired him on November 22, 1986, and likewise announced an overall Cabinet revamp, "to give the government a chance to start all over again."<ref>Davide Commission Report, p. 155</ref> The revamp would lead to the dismissal of Labor Secretary Augusto Sanchez, a perceived leftist, which was believed to be a compromise measure in light of a key rebel demand to cleanse the Cabinet of left-leaning members.<ref>Davide Commission Report, p. 157</ref> Following the August 1987 coup attempt, the Aquino government was seen to have veered to the right, dismissing perceived left-leaning officials such as Executive Secretary Joker Arroyo and tacitly authorizing the establishment of armed quasi-military groups to combat the communist insurgency.<ref>Davide Commission Report, p. 201. "Many political watchers believe that the 28 August coup attempt pulled the Aquino administration towards the right in the ideological spectrum..."</ref> It was also believed that General Fidel Ramos, who remained loyal to Aquino, emerged as the second most powerful person in government following his successful quelling of the coup.<ref>Davide Commission Report, p. 201.</ref> Across-the-board wage increases for soldiers were also granted.<ref>Davide Commission Report, p. 200.</ref>

Aquino herself would sue Philippine Star columnist Louie Beltran and publisher Maximo Soliven for libel after Beltran wrote that the President had hid under her bed during the August 1987 coup as the siege of Malacañang began.

Natural disasters and man-made disasters

The Aquino administration faced a series of natural disasters during its last two years in office. The 1990 Luzon earthquake left around 1,600 dead, with around a thousand of the fatalities in Baguio City. The 1991 eruption of the long-dormant Mount Pinatubo was the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century,<ref>The Cataclysmic 1991 Eruption of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines. Retrieved on 2008-03-22</ref> killing around 300 people and causing widespread long-term devastation of agricultural lands in Central Luzon. The worst loss of life occurred when Tropical Storm Thelma (also known as Typhoon Uring) caused massive flooding in Ormoc City in November 1991, leaving around 6,000 dead in what was the deadliest typhoon in Philippine history.

It was during the term of Corazon Aquino that brownouts became sporadic and many of households during that time bought generators. Complaints were made against Napocor which was headed by Aboitiz who also owns shares in a firm making generators. It was also during Aquino's term that the MV Doña Paz sank, which is the World's worst peace-time maritime disaster of the 20th century. The disaster occurred in December 1987 which killed more than 1,700 people.

Influence in 1992 presidential campaign

The Philippine Constitution bars a President from serving more than one six-year term, however, President Aquino was not covered of this provision. She rejected re-election and instead, she backed her Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos (after initially naming Ramon Mitra, Jr., her former Agriculture Secretary and then Speaker of the House of Representatives, as her candidate), Marcos' armed forces vice-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 23.58 percent of the vote, and succeeded Aquino as president on June 30, 1992.

Post-presidency

At the end of her term, Cory Aquino retired to private life. While going to her inauguration in 1985, she had insisted that the car stop at traffic lights to let civilian traffic pass. When she rode away from the inauguration of her successor in 1993, 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. She has played host to visiting groups of oppositionists-in-exile, delivered a speech smuggled out of Burma in the name of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and welcomed Wan Azizah Ismail, wife of Malaysia's ex-Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.<ref name="test5">TIME 100: Corazon Aquino. Article on Corazon C. Aquino as one of the most influential Asians of the 20th century (accessed November 9, 2007).</ref>

Cory Aquino still speaks out about major issues in government and Philippine politics. In 1998, she supported Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim for the presidency; however, Lim landed in the 5th place in the November 1996 election where Joseph Estrada won in a landslide victory. In January 2001, Cory Aquino participated in 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, she condemned Macapagal-Arroyo for allegedly rigging the 2004 electoral process, and joined protestors demonstrating against Arroyo on EDSA in February 2006, after an alleged coup attempt by members of the Filipino military.

Cory Aquino was the recipient of the 1998 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding. In her response at the awards ceremonies, she stated:<ref name="test13">Response from Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. The 1998 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding (accessed November 13, 2007).</ref>

Cory Aquino is included in the International Women's Forum International Hall of Fame, along with Britain's Margaret Thatcher and America's Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King, among others.<ref name="test14">IWF Brochure.(accessed November 13, 2007).</ref> In November 2006, she was hailed by Time Magazine as one of the great Asian Heroes.<ref name="test15">TIME Asia: 60 Years of Asian Heroes.Story on Corazon Aquino (accessed November 13, 2007).</ref>

Struggle with cancer

On 24 March 2008, actress and television host Kris Aquino disclosed to the media that her mother Cory Aquino was diagnosed with cancer of the colon, and asked the Filipino people to pray for her recovery.<ref name="test17">Kris Aquino reveals her mom Cory has colon cancer Article by Reyma Buan-Deveza on ABS-CBN News, posted March 24, 2008 (accessed March 26, 2008).</ref> She has undergone a series of chemotherapy sessions since then.

After a year of battling against cancer, Aquino underwent a laparoscopic surgery at the Makati Medical Center. On the morning of 4 May 2009, she was brought to the operating room for the procedure that took an hour and a half long. Later that day, her daughter Kris Aquino announced that the operation has successfully removed the cancerous portions from her mother's colon. She is expected to be discharged from the hospital after four days to recover from the surgery. <ref name="test18">Cory Aquino surgery successful - Kris Article on ABS-CBN News, posted May 4, 2009 (accessed May 5, 2009).</ref>

On July 2009, the former president was admitted at Makati Medical Center's ICU due to oss of appetite "caused by fluid build-up in her stomach area." <ref name="test19">Corazon Aquino ends chemotherapy Article on United Press International, posted July 2, 2009 (accessed July 7, 2009).</ref> A statement from the Aquino family in 2 July 2009 revealed that Aquino and her family had decided that she will no longer receive chemotherapy and other medical treatments. <ref name="test20">No more treatment for Aquino—spokeswoman Article on Inquirer.net, posted July 2, 2009 (accessed July 7, 2009).</ref> She was later moved from the ICU to a private room. Reports say that she has received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. <ref name="test21">Aquino family on Cory: 'We entrust everything to God' Article on GMANews.tv, posted July 2, 2009 (accessed July 7, 2009).</ref>

Health

On 24 March 2008, actress and television host Kris Aquino disclosed to the media that her mother Cory Aquino was diagnosed with cancer of the colon, and asked the Filipino people to pray for her recovery.<ref name="test17">Kris Aquino reveals her mom Cory has colon cancer Article by Reyma Buan-Deveza on ABS-CBN News, posted March 24, 2008 (accessed March 26, 2008).</ref> She has undergone a series of chemotherapy sessions since then.

After a year of battling against cancer, Aquino underwent a laparoscopic surgery at the Makati Medical Center. On the morning of 4 May 2009, she was brought to the operating room for the procedure that took an hour and a half long. Later that day, her daughter Kris Aquino announced that the operation has successfully removed the cancerous portions from her mother's colon. She is expected to be discharged from the hospital after four days to recover from the surgery. <ref name="test18">Cory Aquino surgery successful - Kris Article on ABS-CBN News, posted May 4, 2009 (accessed May 5, 2009).</ref>

On July 2009, the former president was admitted at Makati Medical Center's ICU due to oss of appetite "caused by fluid build-up in her stomach area." <ref name="test19">Corazon Aquino ends chemotherapy Article on United Press International, posted July 2, 2009 (accessed July 7, 2009).</ref> A statement from the Aquino family in 2 July 2009 revealed that Aquino and her family had decided that she will no longer receive chemotherapy and other medical treatments. <ref name="test20">No more treatment for Aquino—spokeswoman Article on Inquirer.net, posted July 2, 2009 (accessed July 7, 2009).</ref> She was later moved from the ICU to a private room. Reports say that she has received the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. <ref name="test21">Aquino family on Cory: 'We entrust everything to God' Article on GMANews.tv, posted July 2, 2009 (accessed July 7, 2009).</ref>

Death

On March 24, 2008, the Aquino family announced that the former President had been diagnosed with colon cancer.<ref>"Cory Aquino has colon cancer--family", ABS-CBN News Online, 2008-03-24. Retrieved on 2008-03-24. </ref> While she had initially been informed by her doctors that she had only three months to live,<ref>Maila Ager. "Aquino blood pressure fluctuating – family", Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2009-07-28. Retrieved on 2009-07-28. </ref> Aquino pursued chemotherapy. The treatment caused both heavy hair loss, loss of appetite and immunological problems. In public remarks made on May 13, 2008, she announced that blood tests indicated that she was responding positively to the medical treatment.<ref>Abigail Kwok. "Aquino: ‘My body is responding positively to the treatment’", Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2008-05-13. Retrieved on 2008-05-13. </ref>

By July 2009, Aquino was reported to be in a very serious condition and confined to Makati Medical Center due to loss of appetite and chronic baldness.<ref> Fe Zamora. "Prayers sought for ailing Cory Aquino; Friend says ex-leader in ‘serious’ condition", Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2009-07-01. Retrieved on 2009-07-01. </ref> It was announced that Aquino and her family had decided to cease chemotherapy and other medical interventions.<ref>"No more chemotherapy for Cory, says close family friend", GMA News.TV, 2009-07-02. Retrieved on 2009-07-02. </ref><ref>Agence France Presse. "No more treatment for Aquino—spokeswoman", Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2009-07-02. Retrieved on 2009-07-02. </ref>

Aquino died of cardiorespiratory arrest after complications of colon cancer<ref>http://www.bworldonline.com/BW080109/breakingnews.php </ref> at the age of 76 on August 1, 2009, 3:18 a.m., at the Makati Medical Center.<ref name="AgerInquirer">Ager, Maila. "Cory Aquino dies", INQUIRER.net, 2009-08-01. Retrieved on 2009-07-31. </ref>

The Aquino family declined an invitation by the government for a state funeral.<ref>Kris Aquino explains why family chose not to have state funeral for former President Corazon Aquino</ref>

Wake

Aquino's body lay in state at a public wake at the St. Benilde Gymnasium of La Salle Green Hills in Mandaluyong up to August 3, when it was later transferred to the Manila Cathedral. She was the first member of the laity to have been permitted to lie in state in the cathedral. This honor has always been reserved for deceased archbishops of Manila.<ref>Catholic Church Gives Cory Aquino Singular Honor</ref>. A crowd estimated at 120,000 witnessed the transfer of her remains from La Salle Green Hills to the Manila Cathedral. Most of the crowd was concentrated at the Ninoy Aquino memorial statue in Ayala Avenue, Makati, where the hearse paused briefly as the crowds sang "Bayan Ko," one of the anthems of the 1986 EDSA Revolution. Soon the babies of 1983-1989 were joined in the funeral procession: Paula Taylor, AJ Dee, Camille Pratts, Angel Locsin, Anne Curtis, KC Concepcion, Maxene Magalona, Angelica Panganiban, Denise Laurel, Joyce Cheng, Bea Alonzo, Dino Imperial, Enchong Dee, Gerald Anderson, Robi Domingo, Rayver Cruz and Rodjun Cruz, Shaina Magdayao, Ejay Falcon, Kim Chiu, Nicole Uysiuseng. <ref>120,000 Show up for Cory</ref>


On August 4, the children of Ferdinand Marcos, Bongbong and Imee paid their last respects to Aquino at the Manila Cathedral.<ref>"Marcos children pay last respects to Aquino", INQUIRER.net, 2009-08-04. Retrieved on 2009-08-04. </ref> The funeral mass and interment was scheduled on August 5, which was declared as a special nonworking holiday by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Aquino is buried in Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque.<ref>"Arroyo cuts short US trip, sets August 5 holiday for Cory", GMAnews.tv, 2009-08-02. Retrieved on 2009-08-02. </ref> President of Timor-Leste Jose Ramos Horta showed up at the funeral and paid his last respects to Aquino.<ref>"1K cops to secure Manila Cathedral for Cory wake, vigil", GMAnews.tv, 2009-08-02. Retrieved on 2009-08-02. </ref>


All Roman Catholic dioceses had started requiem masses for Aquino, after they held "healing masses".<ref>"Churches start requiem Masses for Cory Aquino", GMANews.tv, 2009-08-01. Retrieved on 2009-08-01. </ref> Meanwhile, the government declared a week of mourning for her death.<ref>"Palace declares week of mourning on passing of Cory", GMANews.tv, 2009-08-01. Retrieved on 2009-08-01. </ref>

As much as 7,000 mourners on August 4 waited in queue at the Manila Cathedral.<ref>"7,000 mourners come and go at Cory's wake - police", GMANews.tv, 2009-08-01. Retrieved on 2009-08-01. </ref>

Requiem mass and burial

Corazon Aquino's burial convoy going to Manila Memorial Park

President Arroyo, who cut short her trip from the United States, paid her last respects to Aquino in the early hours of Wednesday, August 5. Arroyo spoke to Noynoy Aquino, and stayed for about seven minutes.<ref>"Arroyo pays last respects to Aquino", INQUIRER.net, 2009-08-05. Retrieved on 2009-08-85. </ref>

Singer Jose Mari Chan sang the poem Ninoy made for Cory, "I Have Fallen In Love," as Aquino's casket was carried outside the Cathedral. Other songs performed in tribute were "Sa Iyo Lamang" (For You, Especially) by Piolo Pascual; "The Lord's Prayer" by Erik Santos; "The Impossible Dream" by Jed Madela; and "Pangako (Promise)" by Ogie Alcasid. Martin Nievera and Regine Velasquez performed a duet of "The Prayer", while Sarah Geronimo sang the People Power Revolution anthem "Magkaisa" ("Unite"); "Your Heart Today" by Dulce; and Lea Salonga sang "Bayan Ko" (My Country). The artists later joined the Apo Hiking Society in singing another People Power song "Handog ng Pilipino Sa Mundo" ("The Filipinos' Offering to the World").<ref>"Chan sings Ninoy's poem for Cory anew", ABS-CBNNews.com, 2009-08-05. Retrieved on 2009-08-05. </ref> The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra played the background music.

The funeral procession lasted for almost eight hours, with hundreds of thousands of mourners flashing the "Laban" ("fight"; holding the thumb and forefinger at right angles, like an "L") sign lining the route from the cathedral to the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque. When the cortege reached the cemetery, Aquino was given full military honors, where a two-star general acting as military host and eight one-star generals as pallbearers carried the former president's flag-draped coffin. The crowd that lined the funeral route (passing through the cities of Manila, Makati, and Parañaque) was estimated to be between 300,000 to 400,000 people. Before Aquino was placed in the mausoleum, the presidential guards have placed Aquino's coffub near the mausoleum. Her husband Ninoy is beside her resting place together.

The attendees at the burial were originally restricted to Aquino's family and close friends, but the crowd broke through the security barricades after the last of the funeral convoy's 13 buses entered the cemetery. Although the crowd was inside the premises, they kept a respectful distance from the burial site. <ref>"Thousands escort Aquino funeral cortege", INQUIRER.net, 2009-08-05. Retrieved on 2009-08-05. </ref>

Bishop Villegas gave the final blessing, and per the Aquino family's request, the coffin was opened one last time. The glass was removed, and after Bishop Villegas and Aquino's children sprinkled it with holy water, most members of Aquino's family gave a final kiss to the deceased leader. The casket having been sealed one last time, the Philippine flag was removed from the coffin and folded before being presented to Sen. Noynoy Aquino. The pallbearers ushered in the coffin into the niche prepared beforehand, and her family, supporters, and allies deposited yellow flowers inside after which it was sealed to as Bayan Ko, several religious anthems and christmas carols Misa De Gallo, Ang Nino Nang Isilang, Noche Buena, Pasko Na Naman, Merry Christmas, Ang Pasko Ay Sumapit, Araw Ni Hesus, Ipagdiwang Ang Pasko, Pasko'y Ipagdiwang, Pagsapit Ng Pasko, Ang Diwa Ng Pasko, Ibang Iba Ang Pasko, Ang Hari'y Sumilang, Ang Pagmamano, Kampana Ng Simbahan, Paskong Pilipino, Pasko Ng Pag-ibig, Aginaldo Sa Pasko, Sa Paskong Darating, Merry Christmas Na Maluwalhati, Ang Pasko Sa Amin, Pasko Sa Aming Nayon, Sumilang Sa Araw Ng Pasko, Krismas Ng Isang Bilanggo, Kampana Ng Simbahan, Sanggol Na Manunubos, Sana'y Pasko Araw-araw, Paskong Pasko'y Umiiyak, I'll Be Home For Christmas, The Christmas Song, Someday At Christmas, What Child Is This, Away In A Manger, The First Noel, This Christmas, Silent Night, Have Yourself A Merry Little, Merry Christmas Darling, Silver Bells, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, White Christmas, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Pasko Na Sinta Ko, Happy Christmas (War Is Over), Please Come Home For Christmas, Blue Christmas, Miss Kita Kung Christmas, All I Want For Christmas Is You, It's Christmas All Over The World, A Perfect Christmas, It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, and Do You Hear What I Hear? were sung by the congregation. The lapida or name plate of Aquino was a simple design identical to that of her husband.

Special Event

The Salamat, President Cory TV Special was co-presented by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Real Leaf, Family Rubbing Alcohol, Family Toothpaste, Dragon Katol, Growee, Swish, Alactagrow, Enfagrow, Lactum, Sustagen, Enfapro, Enfakid, Tempra, The Philippine Star, Manila Bulletin, Abante Newspaper, Bulgar Newspaper, Revicon Forte, Alaxan FR, Philippine National Bank, Zesto Corporation, Lion Tiger Katol Lavender Scent, Clear Anti-Dandrauff Shampoo, Vaseline, CreamSilk, Rexona, Surf, Ponds, Knorr, Lady's Choice, Best Foods, Alsa, White Castle Whisky, Napoleon VSOP, Hope Cigarettes, More Cigarettes and Ping-Ping Lechon.

Reaction

Local reaction

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was on a state visit in Washington, D.C. when she was informed about the President Aquino's death, called Aquino a "national treasure". She ended her trip ahead of schedule and returned to Manila to visit Aquino's wake. Arroyo announced a 10-day mourning period for the former President, and issued Administrative Order No. 269 to "official acts and observances” to help in the funeral of the former President.<ref name="AgerInquirer">Cabacungan, Jr., Gil. "Arroyo orders 10 days of mourning", INQUIRER.net, 2009-08-01. Retrieved on 2009-08-02. </ref>

Former President Estrada said that they lost a "mother" and a "guiding voice of the people." Estrada also described Aquino as "Philippines' most loved woman". <ref>>"Estrada: Aquino RP’s ‘most loved’ woman", INQUIRER.net, 2009-08-03. Retrieved on 2009-08-03. </ref> Aquino supported Estrada's removal from office in 2001, but the two supported each other to oppose amendments in the constitution since last year.<ref>"Nation lost 'mother, guiding voice'", INQUIRER.net, 2009-08-01. Retrieved on 2009-08-01. </ref> The Senate has also expressed its grieving with Aquino's death; Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who along with Fidel Ramos launched the People Power Revolution, asked the public to pray for her. Minority leader Aquilino Pimentel, who previously served as interior and local government secretary during her administration, had "mixed feelings" with Aquino's passing, saying "We shall be forever indebted to Cory for rallying the nation behind the campaign to topple dictatorial rule and restore democracy."<ref>"Senators remember Cory's greatness", GMANews.tv, 2009-08-01. Retrieved on 2009-08-01. </ref>

A growing opinion among some Roman Catholic circles in the country is to push for Aquino's declaration as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.

International reaction

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev in a telegram to President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stated, “The name of Corazon Aquino is associated with a period of profound reforms and the democratic transformation of Filipino society.” Medvedev also noted that Corazon Aquino showed great interest and sympathy to Russia and prioritised the development of Russian-Filipino relations.<ref>"Dmitry Medvedev expressed his condolences to President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo following the passing of former President of the Republic Corazon Aquino.", Presidential Press and Information Office, 1 August 2009. Retrieved on 2009-08-02. </ref> International figures expressed their grief, with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noting that Aquino was "admired by the world for her extraordinary courage". White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that "Her courage, determination, and moral leadership are an inspiration to us all and exemplify the best in the Filipino nation." Other ambassadors also sent their messages of condolence following her passing.<ref>"World mourns Aquino’s death", INQUIRER.net, 2009-08-01. Retrieved on 2009-08-01. </ref> Pope Benedict XVI recalled Aquino as a "courageous commitment to the freedom of the Filipino people, her firm rejection of violence and intolerance," according to Manila Archbishop Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. President of South Africa Jacob Zuma called Aquino "a great leader who set a shining example of peaceful transition to democracy in her country."<ref>Error on call to template:cite news: Parameters archiveurl and archivedate must be both specified or both omittedGomez, Jim. "[http://www.webcitation.org/5imI9aEUA The reigning Queen of the British monarch joined people in the Philippines and all over the world in mourning the death of former President Corazon Aquino.In a message, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II said, "I am saddened to hear of the death of Corazon 'Cory' Aquino the former President of the Republic of the Philippines."

She added, "I send my sincere condolences to her family and to the people of the Philippines."

President Aquino has been called the "icon of democracy" for leading a bloodless people power revolution in 1986 to topple former President Marcos, a dictator. She died last August 1.

In the funeral mass before she was laid to rest on Wednesday, a priest referred to President Aquino as "the only true queen our people ever had." Fr. Catalino Arevalo said in his homily that President Aquino was a great leader because of her selflessness, faith and courage."http://news.abs-cbn.com/business/08/06/09/british-queen-saddened-death-rps-true-queenarchivedate=2009-08-04 Aquino mourned at wake by thousands of Filipinos]", Google News, 2009-08-01. Retrieved on 2009-08-04. </ref>

In popular culture

Aquino was portrayed by Laurice Guillen in the 1988 HBO miniseries A Dangerous Life.

Aquino was a main character in Boy Noriega's 1987 stage comedy Bongbong at Kris, about an imagined romantic coupling between the youngest son of Ferdinand Marcos and the youngest daughter of the Aquinos.

She was portrayed by Tess Villarama in the movie Ilaban Mo, Bayan Ko: The Obet Pagdanganan Story in 1997.

She was also portrayed by Geraldine Malacaman in the 1998 musical play "Lean".

In 2004, Aquino was portrayed by Irma Adlawan in the miniseries Sa'yo Lamang.

In 2008, a musical play about Aquino starring Isay Alvarez as Aquino, was staged at the Meralco Theater. Entitled Cory, the Musical, it was written and directed by Nestor Torre and featured a libretto of 19 original songs composed by Lourdes Pimentel, wife of Senator Aquilino Pimentel.<ref>"Musical on Cory Aquino to be staged at Meralco Theater", 2008-06-20. Retrieved on 2008-06-29. </ref><ref>gmanews.tv, Bing Pimentel writes musical play for Cory</ref><ref>abs-cbnnews, Coming this October: 'Cory' the Musical</ref>

Awards and achievements

Honorary doctorates

References

<references />

External links

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Template:Corazon Aquino

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Citation

Political offices
Preceded by
Ferdinand E. Marcos
President of the Philippines
1986–1992
Succeeded by
Fidel V. Ramos
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