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                Maria Corazon "Cory" Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino (January 25, 1933 – August 1, 2009) was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office. Aquino was also the first popularly and democratically-elected female president and head of state in Asia. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled the authoritarian regime of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines. "Tita (Auntie) Cory", as she was affectionately known, is revered by many Filipinos as an icon of democracy and was hailed by TIME Magazine in 1986 as its 'Woman of the Year.'

                 A self-proclaimed "plain housewife", Aquino was married to Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., the popular opposition leader and staunchest critic of then President Ferdinand Marcos. Senator Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983 upon returning to the Philippines after three years in exile in the United States.

After her husband's assassination, the widowed Aquino became the reluctant leader of the opposition against the authoritarian rule of the Marcos regime. She united the fragmented opposition and strengthened its moral crusade against the abuses and excesses of President Marcos' martial rule. In late 1985, when President Marcos called for a snap election, Cory Aquino challenged his regime. Aquino thrust herself into the political arena after one million signatures urging her to run for president were presented to her.

               Despite having no prior political experience, Aquino proved to be an effective leader, inspiring orator and skilled campaigner. She ran for president with former senator Salvador Laurel as her vice-presidential running mate. After the elections were held on February 7, 1986, the Marcos-controlled Batasang Pambansa proclaimed him the winner in the elections, Aquino called for massive civil disobedience protests against him, declaring herself as having been cheated and as the real winner in the elections. Filipinos enthusiastically heeded her call and rallied behind her. These series of events eventually led to the ouster of Marcos and the installation of Aquino as President of the Philippines on February 25, 1986 through the People Power Revolution.

              As President, Aquino oversaw the restoration of democracy in the Philippines and the promulgation of a new constitution, which limited the powers of the presidency and established a bicameral legislature. Her administration gave strong emphasis and concern for civil liberties and human rights, peace talks and dialogues with communist insurgents and Muslim secessionists. Aquino's economic policies, meanwhile, centered on bringing back economic health and confidence and focused on creating a market-oriented and socially-responsible economy. Despite these achievements, Aquino's presidency was not smooth-sailing as she had to face series of coup attempts against her administration and destructive natural calamities and disasters until the end of her term in 1992. Succeeded by Fidel V. Ramos as President in 1992, Aquino returned to private life although she remained active in the public eye, constantly voicing her views and opinions on the pressing political issues in the country. In 2008, Aquino was diagnosed with colon cancer and after a one-year battle with the disease, died on August 1, 2009.

 

 



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