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Corazon Aquino Article

Corazon Aquino Article

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Published by: marco_meduranda on Aug 17, 2009
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06/27/2010

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Corazon Aquino, the unassuming widow whose "people power" revolution toppled adictator, restored Philippine democracy and inspired millions of people around the world,died Saturday after a battle with colon cancer, her family announced. She was 76. Widelyknown as "Cory," the slight, bespectacled daughter of a wealthy land-owning familyserved as president of the Philippines from 1986 to 1992, the first woman to hold that position.This Story
Corazon Aquino (1933 - 2009)She was widowed in 1983 when her husband, political opposition leader BenignoS. Aquino Jr., was assassinated upon his return from exile to lead a pro-democracymovement against authoritarian president Ferdinand E. Marcos. It was a popular revoltagainst Marcos after a disputed election that later enabled Corazon Aquino to assume power.In her six tumultuous years in office in the fractious, strife-torn, disaster-pronearchipelago, Aquino resisted seven coup attempts or military revolts, battled a persistentcommunist insurgency and grappled with the effects of typhoons, floods, droughts, amajor earthquake and a devastating volcanic eruption. Her tribulations earned her thenickname "Calamity Cory."As she dealt with those challenges, she took pride in restoring democratic institutions thathad been gutted under Marcos's 20-year rule. And she presided over a series of relativelyfree elections, the dismantling of monopolies and an initial spurt of economic growth.Her administration failed to make much headway in alleviating poverty, stamping outcorruption or delivering basic services. It bequeathed her successor an economic slumpmarked by protracted, costly power failures that reflected inattention to the country'senergy needs.Despite the turmoil that dogged her presidency, Aquino oversaw the first peacefultransfer of power in the Philippines in 26 years. She returned to private life with relief,although she remained politically active.She played a role in popular protests that led to the ouster of President Joseph Estrada inJanuary 2001. She initially supported his successor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, butincreasingly turned against her in recent years, siding with opponents who accusedArroyo of vote-rigging and corruption.Aquino's transition from housewife to president to respected elder stateswomanand democracy advocate represented a phenomenal metamorphosis for a self-effacing
 
mother of five who, before being drafted to take on Marcos in 1986, had never before runfor public office.Born Jan. 25, 1933, in Tarlac Province, Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco grew up asthe sixth of eight children in a family of wealthy landowners in the province about 70miles north of the capital. After attending exclusive grade schools, she went to the UnitedStates in 1946 to continue her secondary education at Ravenhill Academy inPhiladelphia, Notre Dame convent school in New York and the College of Mount St.Vincent in New York.There, in 1953, she earned a degree in French and mathematics. She returned to Manila tostudy law and met Benigno S. Aquino Jr., an aspiring politician whom she married in1954. Survivors include their five children, Sen. Benigno S. Aquino III, Maria Elena A.Cruz, Aurora Corazon A. Abellada, Victoria Eliza A. Dee and Kristina Bernadette A. Yap;two brothers; three sisters; and a number of grandchildren.For years she stayed in the background as the quiet, reserved, devoutly Catholic wife of the gregarious and ambitious Benigno Aquino, who was a governor and senator andseemed destined to become the Philippines' president until he was arrested in 1972 justhours after Marcos declared martial law.He remained in prison until 1980, when Marcos allowed him to seek heart treatment inthe United States. Corazon Aquino often described the next three years, when her husband was a fellow at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her family lived together in a Boston suburb, as the happiest in her life.After Benigno Aquino returned to Manila in August 1983 and was assassinated bymilitary men while being taken into custody at the airport -- a killing that CorazonAquino maintained was ordered by Marcos -- the 50-year-old widow reluctantly becamea public figure as she sought to keep her husband's ideals and memory alive. Shegradually emerged as a unifying force for the splintered opposition, even as sherepeatedly ruled herself out as a presidential candidate.This Story
Corazon Aquino (1933 - 2009)But when Marcos called a "snap election" for Feb. 7, 1986, in hopes of capitalizingon his foes' divisions and winning a new mandate, Aquino reluctantly agreed to runagainst him, acceding to the wishes of supporters who had gathered a million signatureson a petition for her candidacy.
 
In formally registering to run, she listed her occupation as "housewife." Indeed, her  preparation for the post was probably best summarized by her comment to reportersseveral months earlier: "What do I know about being president?"Clad in her trademark yellow -- evoking the yellow ribbons that had proliferated aroundManila to mark her husband's return from exile -- Aquino proved to be a formidable, andfearless, campaigner. She vowed to "dismantle the dictatorial edifice" built by Marcos inhis two decades in power, "eliminate the social cancer of graft and corruption" under hisrule and hold him accountable for the murder of her husband.In one hard-hitting speech shortly before the election, she warned Marcos, "Don't youdare frustrate the will of the Filipino people, because you will have an angry people onyour hands."Days before the vote, she told The Washington Post in an interview that many Filipinoswere risking their fortunes and their lives to back her. "It's really a do-or-die situationnow," she said. "So many have realized that this is our moment of truth, and they justhave to give their all now or that chance may never come again."Aquino fully expected Marcos to resort to election fraud if the vote did not go his way, but she relied on the axiom that, as one Marcos campaign official put it in a moment of candor, "mathematically, you can only cheat so much." And she vowed to lead massivedemonstrations if the election was stolen from her.Indeed, a rubber-stamp legislature officially proclaimed the reelection of Marcos toa new six-year term on Feb. 16, 1986, after a protracted vote-counting process marked bywidespread fraud and violence. Aquino then launched a civil disobedience campaign to protest the result.Six days later, a military mutiny led by followers of Marcos's defense minister, JuanPonce Enrile, broke out in Manila. It was quickly joined by Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, adistant cousin of Marcos then serving as acting armed forces chief of staff. The mutineersdeclared support for Aquino, and the country's Roman Catholic primate, Cardinal JaimeSin, called the faithful into the streets to block any attack on them by Marcos's forces.Millions of Filipinos responded, giving birth to "people power."Three days after the revolt began, Marcos was forced to flee the Malacañang presidential palace, where he had lived since taking office in December 1965. He eventually landed inHawaii, where he died in 1989. Aquino took over as president, declaring that "the longagony is over."One of her first acts was to have Malacañang fumigated. But even then Aquino refused tolive or work there, preferring to hold office in a nearby guest house and opting to live in amodest home a block away. Initially, she even insisted that her motorcades stop at redlights -- until her security guards put an end to that egalitarian gesture.

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