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The Cory Aquino Leadership: Perspectives from the Social Sciences

Third World Studies Center


Is there anything left for the social scientists to explain? What part of Corazon
“Cory” Aquino have we not understood amidst the very public outpouring of grief
and deep gratitude during her passing last August? The University of the Philippines
(UP) Third World Studies Center (TWSC), together with the Office of the UP Diliman
Chancellor, the UP Department of Political Science, and the Philippine Political
Science Association organized this event to respond precisely to these concerns,
which are borne out of cynicism and our haste to get over the
former president’s death. The organizers believe that Cory Aquino’s life as a leader,
her experiences, and the decisions she made that still strongly inform our society
today were all drawn from a wide range and sometimes conflicting mix of personal
convictions and political positions. Thus, to interpret her life in the same way we
attempt to comprehend the nation’s sorrow over her death, there is a need for the
different disciplines of the social sciences to come together and share their
understanding of her life and legacy. Equally important is the opportunity that this
forum provides to the current generation of students whose idea of her role in the
nation’s history is only a faint approximation of what their elders have lived through.
The forum challenges us to go beyond the narrow sentimentality of grief—that it be
an occasion not only for old war stories but also for new inquiries about a past and a
leader whom we have considered so deserving of our sacrifice, too worthy of our

ET Corazon Aquino. the self-described "plain housewife" who overcame a dictator to become president of the Philippines.Cory Aquino. 2009 11:59 p. Rebuilt Democratic Institutions Email Print 9 Comments Facebook Twitter LinkedIn smaller Larger By James Hookway Updated Aug. 1. Corazon Aquino at a gathering of civic groups in Manila on Sept. after a battle with cancer. 2003. 6. But it was the heady images of 1986 -.when Mrs. Who Led Revolt in Manila. AFP/Getty Filipinos revered Mrs. The "People Power" revolt showed that ordinary people could mass together to topple authoritarian leaders.m. Aquino rose on a wave of popular protest against the leadership of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife Imelda -. Aquino for rebuilding the country's democratic institutions and surviving a series of military coup d'etat attempts to hand over power to her elected successor.that seared themselves into the imagination of millions of people around the world. influencing a series of similar pro-democracy . Dies at 76 'Plain Housewife' Headed Movement to Oust Marcos. died early Saturday in Manila at age 76.

A standoff in Manila followed. . 1986) Philippine Vote Signals Shift in Power To Senate From Still-Popular Aquino (May 18. Marcos grew. took to the streets to protect the rebels from pro-Marcos forces. pitting himself against Mrs. Aquino. Mr. including Mrs. 1985) Coup Attempt. Aquino was sworn in as president on Feb. 1987) The swelling opposition movement still needed a uniting figure to push for lasting political change. when Mrs. Aquino's husband.. he called elections in February 1986. under whom the country had fallen into a quagmire of corruption and poverty. Marcos. Both Mr. The Philippines' uprising began in 1983. Aquino. prompting some military leaders to revolt against the dictator. Aquino. 4. 17. Marcos and Mrs. in circumstances that have never been fully explained. Looking Back at Cory Aquino Journal articles on Corazon Aquino's rise to power in the 1980s: Aquino's Widow. who took to wearing yellow dresses on her campaign stops. Political Novice. As defections within the armed forces accelerated. Aquino died in a hail of bullets as soon as he stepped off his plane in Manila's international airport. Marcos fled the country. Aquino and the opposition's cause by tying yellow ribbons on anything they could find. Mourners continued to show their support for Mr. which was followed by widespread allegations of fraud. a widowed mother of five. opposition leader Sen. Mrs. Benigno Aquino Jr. as more than one million Filipinos. Labor Leader's Murder Test Aquino's Conciliatory Leadership (Nov. shrugged off death threats and returned from exile in Boston to join a growing movement against Mr. As local and international pressure on Mr. in a startling show of popular resentment. Two million people escorted his body to the cemetery where he was buried.upheavals from Eastern Europe and Taiwan in the late 1980s to South Korea and South America. 25. That person was the unassuming Mrs. Aquino claimed to win the vote. Rallies the Philippine Opposition (Dec. Mr.

She sued newspaper columnist Luis Beltran for suggesting she hid under the bed in the presidential palace during a failed 1987 putsch. Aquino would have none of it. who served as chief of staff and labor and justice secretary under Mrs. Marcos. the "yellow-ribbon" movement gave way to other color-coded revolts. "If democracy could succeed in the Philippines. they though it could succeed in Poland. "It was obvious what had happened in the Philippines was a real source of inspiration to the leaders of Solidarity and the Polish people. Aquino and who later became Senate president. But an agrarian program wasn't comprehensive enough to end a communist insurgency and restore prosperity to many rural areas. her subsequent victories as president were less decisive. . She rebuilt democratic institutions that had been emasculated under Mr." Mr. Former U.S." After Mrs.In later years.S. Solarz said. to help do for Poland what Mrs. a supporter of the democracy movement in the Philippines. even going as far as to show journalists that she couldn't fit under the bed in question. And when it was time to step down -. and the country still labors under the burden of corruption. and current movements in Thailand and Iran. where Solidarity union adviser Adam Michnik asked him and the U. recalls traveling to Poland in the late 1980s. Franklin Drilon. While she did little to discourage the idea that she was elevated to the presidency by fate or divine intervention. Throughout her presidency. Aquino's election. some of whom produced "Cory" children's dolls in her likeness. Congressman Stephen Solarz. Aquino showed a steely streak which often went unnoticed by her many admirers. too. Aquino did for the Philippines. a number of people close to her suggested she consider extending her term by running in the presidential elections to be held in 1992. Mrs. the Orange Revolution in current President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is scheduled to do next year -.Mrs. She faced down a wave of military coup attempts in her first three years in office. Mrs. Aquino also dug in her heels to stay in office. Aquino didn't hesitate. Mrs. including the Rose Revolution in Georgia. recalls that during the final year of her presidency.

underscoring the unfinished nature of the revolution she helped lead. That's in large part thanks to Mrs. joining forces in calling for Ms. Arroyo. She stepped down in 1992 after free elections elevated her successor." Mr. Estrada and Mrs.a pointed move to demonstrate that she was returning to life as a private citizen."Whenever the idea was mentioned in her presence.rule by the ballot box is more often the case than not in the modern-day Philippines. Drilon says. ignoring the suggestion. In 2001. Mrs. Despite occasional upheavals and some Filipino soldiers' continuing efforts to carve out more power for themselves -. the last thing we needed was another leader desperately clinging to power. she joined a second uprising to chase former President Joseph Estrada from office for graft -.a charge for which he was convicted and later pardoned by Ms. . Fidel Ramos. Cory would simply look out of the window to the right of her desk.Ms. Until diagnosed with colon cancer last year. Mr. Arroyo herself has faced down a number of minor coup attempts -. Aquino left no room for misinterpretation. "She knew that after more than two decades under the dictator." Mr. to the presidency. and departed his inauguration in her own Toyota sedan -. Arroyo to step down. Mrs. Drilon recalls. Ferdinand Marcos. Aquino continued to take part in the Philippines' fractious politics. Aquino. Aquino since made up.