Corazon Aquino, President of the Philippines, Died at 76

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Dead, Maria Corazon “Cory” Aquino on August 1, 2009 at the age of 76, Born on January 25, 1933, at San Juan de Dios Hospital in Intramuros, Manila, Maria Corazon “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco was the fourth child of Jose Cojuangco y Chichioco, Sr. and Demetria Sumulong y Sumulong.

Her siblings were Pedro, Josephine, Teresita, Jose, Jr. and Maria Paz. Both Aquino’s parents came from prominent clans.

Her father was a prominent Tarlac businessman and politician, and her great-grandfather, Melecio Cojuangco, was a member of the historic Malolos Congress.

After graduating from college, she returned to the Philippines to study law at the Far Eastern University (owned by the in-laws of her elder sister, Josephine Reyes) for one year.

She married Sen. Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., son of the late Speaker Benigno S. Aquino, Sr. and a grandson of General Servillano Aquino.

The couple had five children: Maria Elena (born August 18, 1955), Aurora Corazon (born December 27, 1957), Benigno Simeon III (born February 8, 1960), Victoria Elisa (born October 27, 1961) and Kristina Bernadette (born February 14, 1971).

In 1978, despite her initial opposition, Ninoy decided to run in the 1978 Batasang Pambansa elections.

A reluctant speaker, Corazon Aquino campaigned in behalf of her husband, and for the first time in her life delivered a political speech.

In 1980, upon the intervention of U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Marcos allowed Senator Aquino and his family to 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 and family life.

On August 21, 1983, however, Ninoy ended his stay in the United States and returned without his family to the Philippines, only to be assassinated on a staircase leading to the tarmac of the Manila International Airport, which was later renamed in his honour (see Assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.). Corazon Aquino returned to the Philippines a few days later and led her husband’s funeral procession, in which more than two million people participated.

With international pressure bearing down on his administration, Marcos unexpectedly called for presidential elections in February 1986.

Marcos’ opposition chose Aquino as their candidate. When she narrowly lost the election, Aquino and her supporters challenged the results.

Quickly, Marco’s fortunes began to turn. The army, and then the defense minister, soon declared support for Aquino, prompting Marcos to seek exile in Hawaii.

Aquino was sworn into office on February 25, 1986, becoming the first female president of the Philippines.

That same year, she was named TIME magazine’s Woman of the Year. During her six years as the country’s president, Aquino fended off coup attempts by Marcos supporters, and struggled to address her country’s economic problems.

In 1992 she left office, and was succeeded by her former defense secretary, Fidel Ramos.

Hillary Clinton said that Aquino was “admired by the world for her extraordinary courage” in leading the fight against dictatorship.

Pope Benedict XVI applauded her “courageous commitment to the freedom of the Filipino people, her firm rejection of violence and intolerance”


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