Benigno Simeon Aquino III
|Political Party:||Liberal (1998 to date)|
|Born:|| February 8, 1960|
Benigno Simeón Cojuangco Aquino III (born February 8, 1960) is the 15th President of the Philippines. He is the son of Benigno Aquino Jr., a former senator and Marcos critic and Corazon Aquino, a former Philippine president. A current Senator to the 14th Congress of the Philippines, he served as former Representative of the 2nd District of the province of Tarlac to the 11th, 12th, and 13th Congress of the Philippines (1998-2007).
Noynoy, as he is fondly called, was born in Manila to a clan of politicians. He is the only son of Benigno Aquino, Jr. and former President Corazon C. Aquino. He has four other siblings, Kristina Bernadette, Maria Elena, Aurora Corazon and Victoria Eliza.
He completed his elementary, secondary, and college education at the Ateneo de Manila University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in Economics in 1981. After graduation, Noynoy became a member of the Philippine Business for Social Progress in 1983. He also worked humbly as a retail sales supervisor for Nike Shoes and as an assistant for advertising and promotion for Mondragon Philippines, both in 1985 to 1986. He also was the vice president and treasurer for Best Security Agency Corporation from 1986 to 1993 and served as executive assistant for administration (1993-1996) and fields service manager (1996-1998) for Central Azucarera Tarlac.
He is a member of the Liberal Party, the banner of the political opposition. He ran for congressman in 1998 and served as Representative of the 2nd District of Tarlac until 2007. During his term, he served on numerous committees, namely:
- Civil, Political & Human Rights (Vice-Chairman), Public Order & Security, Transportation & Communications, Agriculture, Banks & Financial Intermediaries, Peoples’ Participation, Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Appropriations, Natural Resources, Trade & Industry (11th Congress)
- Civil, Political & Human Rights, Good Government, Public Order & Security, Inter-Parliamentary Relations & Diplomacy (12th Congress)
- Banks & Financial Intermediaries, Energy, Export Promotion, Public Order & Safety (13th Congress)
He was then elected as Senator in the 2007 midterm elections under the Genuine Opposition, a coalition comprising a number of parties, including his own Liberal Party. With more than 14.3 million votes, Aquino's tally was the sixth highest of the 37 candidates for the 12 vacant seats elected from the nation at large. He assumed his new office on June 30, 2007.
2010 presidential bid
A member of the Liberal Party from 1998 to present, Aquino served as the party's secretary general and vice-chairman.
After the death of his mother, Corazon Aquino on 1 August 2009, Noynoy was pegged to run for president in the 2010 Elections. Aquino was uncertain if he would run for the presidency and went to the Carmelite Convent in Zamboanga on 4 September 2009 for a few days of spiritual retreat. He said he wanted to be enlightened before making a decision. According to Aquino, three factors would influence his decision on running for president: his ability to guarantee that there will really be meaningful changes for society and the country, the availability of logistics for his electoral campaign, and the sentiments of his four sisters on his presidential bid.<ref name="gmanews"> Mar gives way to Noynoy as Liberal Party standard bearer</ref>
On 8 September 2009, at a press conference organized by the Liberal Party held in Club Filipino, LP President Mar Roxas gave way to Aquino to become the standard bearer of LP.
Aquino came back after his retreat and made the announcement of his bid for presidency on 9 September 2009 at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan. On 28 November 2009, Aquino filed his certificate of candidacy (CoC) along with Roxas as his vice president, under the Liberal Party banner.
According to a Special Survey by the Social Weather Stations conducted from 5 to 6 September 2009 in the National Capital Region (NCR), Pangasinan province, Central Luzon (Region 3), and in some parts of Southern Tagalog (Region 4-A), Aquino was preferred by 50% of the 1,200 respondents from a pre-selected list of presidential candidates.
On another survey conducted by SWS from 4 to 8 November 2009, Aquino was named by 59% of the sample population as the top three best leaders to succeed Gloria Arroyo.
He also held a wide margin in the 8 to 10 December 2009 survey conducted by Pulse Asia among 1,800 respondents in a nationwide pre-election survey, with 45% while top presidential rival Manny Villar received 23%. However, the gap was closed in the 22 to 26 January 2010 survey that yielded neck-and-neck results, 37% of the 1,800 respondents favored Aquino while 35% chose Villar.
In April 2010, a document containing a psychological evaluation on Aquino's mental health leaked to the public. Allegations of the leakage of the document, conducted in 1996 under the Department of Psychology of Ateneo de Manila, were pointed at the Nacionalista Party. NP's standard bearer, Manny Villar, denied the allegations and challenged Aquino to take a psychiatric test and other medical evaluations to prove his sanity and fitness to become President.
Senator Chiz Escudero, a former presidential candidate aspirant, announced his support for Aquino and Jejomar Binay, causing a stir among Aquino-Roxas supporters.
In May 2010 Aquino admitted that he had been meeting with Iglesia ni Cristo Minister Eduardo Manalo and was also hoping to get an endorsement from Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy of Kingdom of Jesus Christ who later supported Aquino's presidential rival and cousin, Gilbert Teodoro.
A few days after the elections, leading presidential candidate, Noynoy Aquino said that he would rather take oath in before a baranggay chairman. Aquino refused to recognize Gloria Arroyo's appointed Supreme Court Chief, Renato Corona.
Aquino's platform is grounded on the legacy that his parents left to the Filipinos: democracy and democratic process, which he aims to preserve by maintaining transparency, personal and institutional integrity, honesty, and good governance. He also campaigns for transformational leadership, government service, gender equality, peace and order, and environment protection.
In a forum with Blogwatch.ph members on 6 February 2010, Aquino elaborated on his plans for the country should he win the presidency, highlighting the importance of job generation, especially among the youth, and health and judicial reform.
- Government service
Aquino's would-be priority departments are the Department of Finance, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Department of Justice, which he cited as a personal preference. According to Aquino, the Philippine judicial system's conviction rate is a mere 18% of all cases filed as compared to America’s 85% and Japan’s 95%, resulting in uncertainty of punishment for offenders. Through judicial reform, Aquino believes that deficiencies in the justice system shall be addressed, although this is not a promise of a perfect system. The reform could also provide that members of the justice system be compensated accordingly in exchange for performing well and to give some measure to insulate them from corruption.
While he cannot name any probable appointees, Aquino said that his Cabinet is open to those who have proven track records and those who have not been given the opportunities but have exhibited abilities that commensurate to the positions. He also noted that in order to undertake much of the changes in the next six years, he and Roxas will each focus on separate sets of agencies.
Aquino also considers beefing up the government positions, especially among appointees. According to him, there are just too many undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, and some unnecessary positions with corresponding stocks whose performance do not justify the budget allotted to them.
- Education and labor
Aquino believes that education reform and job generation go hand-in-hand, thus, the shift from the existing 10-year basic education program in the country to 12 years and more (as implemented in most countries) is seen as a way to achieve both. The move would necessitate an education-related revamp, i.e. classroom construction, which in turn would provide jobs. Aquino estimated that the construction would amount between P20 and P40 billion, which, he said, is a mere pittance as compared to the P280 billion that is lost yearly. With the said move, Aquino expects to alleviate the plight of students who find it difficult to learn since most are cramped with three subjects in a single class period and given error-ridden textbooks. If students are given enough space and time to dedicate to further learning, they can hone more skills needed to prepare them for jobs that match the country's potential growth areas, such as business process outsourcing (BPO), information technology (IT), and tourism.
He maintained that if the Philippines, which is one of the last three countries to maintain a 10-year basic education program, does not begin the reform soon, more students are likely to drop out of school. Although the endeavor may take about 10 years, Aquino posits that this will diminish the rate of workers who subsist on the minimum wage just because they were not able to acquire the skills needed to land them opportunities in the said potential growth areas. He also pointed out the Department of Labor and Employment’s role in providing forecasts on the career trend here and abroad, so as to avoid “acting on educational plans that serve the needs of yesterday.”
Although the Constitution mandates that the single biggest allocation in the national budget should go to education, Aquino said that the appropriation is still dependent on the budget deficit. Furthermore, he said he would probably consolidate the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority under one umbrella body to coordinate the budget and expenses.
- Overseas Filipino workers
Aquino sees the probability of re-assessing the performance of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to determine if there is a need to merge them into one bureau. He added that he would propel the two agencies generate more opportunities in the country and turn overseas employment from necessity to choice.
- Reproductive health bill
Aquino said that it confounds him why he is always associated with the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill and reiterated that he is neither an author nor a co-author, much less did he sign the committee report regarding the bill. For him, the RH bill is a dead venture since the Congress is no longer in session for the upcoming elections. He pointed that a better resolve is responsible parenthood and the state's role is simply to remind the parents of their obligations. Aquino also puts forth the establishment of an ecumenical forum among religions to develop the values and conscience of the people, and help them have an informed decision.
- Price control
Aquino said that although government intervention in price control propels disruption between sellers and buyers who normally make the best decisions on what, when, and how much to sell, the government has to protect the most vulnerable in the trade, the consumers. He believes in a free market where the buyer and the seller will make the best decision as to how to allocate the resources in a country, and government intervention should only arise when there are abuses, e.g. monopoly and oligopoly.
If elected, he would look into the oil deregulation law. According to him, the oil price trend is rigged with collusion among big companies who just take turns in dictating the price trend, often “for the same exact amount, at the exact same time” despite having different sources. With this tendency, even the small players who maintain a certain margin between the Big Three and themselves are, at times, influenced.
The Liberal Party standard-bearer also opposes tax hike, saying that “while the government is not able to collect the taxes that are already mandated by the law, additional taxes are not necessary.” Instead, he proposes eventual lowering of taxes, to which the private sector can respond faster that will result in more disposable income for investment and retainment of the same revenues needed to sustain the government’s social services.
Furthermore, Aquino slams sin taxes, saying that they are regressive taxes that have a greater effect on those who can least afford the taxes, citing Filipinos below the poverty line who drink to forget their problems. Instead, he would address the health issues first and mobilize the Department of Health to be at the forefront of the campaign in furthering advocacies and public education on the effects of smoking and drinking. Empowerment of the local government units and communities to implement existing laws, e.g. total ban of smoking indoors, is also seen as an option.
- Environment and natural resources
For Aquino, discussing issues on the environment touches more than the conservation of forests since there has to be a balance between the need to preserve the environment and the need to provide jobs, as is the cases of Mt. Diwalwal and Marinduque where mining proved to be detrimental to the area and its people. Aquino also posited that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should be a more pro-active department as opposed to the popular perception that its performance is solely on merit of economic activities.
- Hacienda Luisita and agrarian reform
Addressing the allegations that the Cojuangco family would not yield the land of Hacienda Luisita because of its economic value, Aquino said that if Stock Distribution Option (SDO, a non-land transfer program where an agrarian reform beneficiary gets dividends and proportionate share to the earnings of the land) were to be removed, all the land belongs to their clan and can be sold if the whole issue simply boils down to profiteering.
Aquino said that he has asked the rest of the Cojuangcos to find ways and means to transfer the assets free of debt. Should he become President, he would push for the advancement of the agrarian reform where transfer of ownership shall have a finite quantity, i.e. knowing how many and to whom the land ownerships should be transferred, and reach the stage when we can finally distribute.
Aside from education and job competence, Aquino also hopes that the Philippines can produce more boxing champions by investing more in the sport “that has more potential” than basketball, which has long fascinated Filipino sports enthusiasts.
Noynoy Aquino has been rumored to have had past relationships with Korina Sanchez, broadcast journalist Bernadette Sembrano and actress Diana Zubiri. At age 50, Aquino is in a relationship with Valenzuela councilor and TV host Shalani Soledad, but the couple ended their relationship in November 2010. After the breakup, Aquino reportedly admitted that he has been dating his personal stylist, Liz Uy, but both him an Uy denied any romantic relationship between them.
On 9 June 2010, Aquino was officially declared as the winner of the May 2010 Elections after 9 days of canvassing done by the National Board of Canvassers. Aquino garnered a total of 15,208,678 votes against former president Joseph Estrada who got 9,487,837. Aquino received 298,217 votes in Manila. The other provinces where Aquino led are Cebu, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, Negros Oriental, Camarines Norte, Zambales, Iloilo, Batanes, Agusan del Sur, Romblon, Taguig-Pateros, Eastern Samar, Bacolod, Mt. Province, Lanao del Sur, Pasig City, and Valenzuela City.
He is part of the Philippine Tatler's list of Who's Who of the Philippines. He also graced the cover of the April 25 issue of Time Magazine.
Noynoy with running mate, Mar Roxas during the filing of their certificates of candidacy
- Noynoy Aquino Official Site. (accessed 12 May 2009)
- Benigno Aquino III profile (accessed on December 19, 2007).
- Who's Who of the Philippines. Philippine Tatler 2009
- Fidelis Tan. "Noynoy Aquino to run for President" Thepoc.net (accessed 14 September 2009)
- "SNAP USA" Petitiononline.com (accessed 14 September 2009)
- "Noynoy Aquino for President" Petitionspot.com (accessed 14 September 2009)
- "Noynoy Aquino announces bid for presidency in 2010" Gmanews.tv (accessed 14 September 2009)
- "Photos of Senator Noynoy Aquino's rumored girlfriend..." Pep.ph (accessed 14 September 2009)
- "Noynoy holds wide margin in latest Pulse Asia survey" Manila Times (accessed 12 February 2010)
- "Aquino, Villar neck and neck in latest Pulse Asia survey" GMANews.tv (accessed 12 February 2010)
- Noynoy Aquino's platform, Philippine Online Chronicles (accessed 31 March 2010)
- Noynoy bares plans on economy, sports, and agrarian reform, Philippine Online Chronicles (accessed 31 March 2010)
- Sen. Noynoy Aquino Podcast Blogwatch.tv (accessed 31 March 2010)
- Now it’s final: Aquino, Binay win in May 10 polls Inquirer.net (Accessed 9 June 2010)
- Aquino can take oath before village chief, says Corona Inquirer.net (Accessed 9 June 2010)
- Villar dares Aquino to take psychiatric test Inquirer.net (Accessed 9 June 2010)
- Noynoy Aquino admits pitching for Iglesia vote with sistersInquirer.net (Accessed 9 June 2010)
- Time story on Noynoy Aquino cites Ninoy, Cory legacy Inquirer.net (Accessed 9 June 2010)
- Escudero all out for ‘Noy-Bi’ Inquirer.net (Accessed 9 June 2010)
- SWS November 4-8, 2009 Survey: Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar top the people's "three best leaders to succeed PGMA in 2010" Sws.org.ph (Accessed 9 June 2010)
- Noynoy graces Time Magazine's cover Philstar.com (Accessed 15 June 2010)
- Benigno Aquino III profile on Freebase. Accessed 12 May 2009.