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Philippine President Cory Aquino - Global Icon of Democracy

Updated on October 19, 2014
President Corazon "Cory" Aquino, 1933-2009
President Corazon "Cory" Aquino, 1933-2009
President Corazon Aquino, Time Magazine's Woman of the Year
President Corazon Aquino, Time Magazine's Woman of the Year

This is another heartbreaking news.

Former President Corazon Aquino died peacefully on August 1, 2009, Saturday, at 3:18 a. m. Manila time, after a 16-month battle against colon cancer. She was 76 years old. She died at the hospital where she had been admitted over a month ago. Shortly before her death, a private mass was held in her room. All of her five children were at her bedside till her last breath. She died of cardio-respiratory arrest, according to her son, Benigno Aquino Jr.

Known as Cory to millions of Filipinos, she was president from 1986 to 1992. She is remembered as the slim woman in yellow who led the “People Power” revolution that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos. (I was there in EDSA avenue way back in 1986.) This made her a global icon of democracy. The People Power ended when up to one million people waving rosaries and flowers stopped Marcos’ tanks from advancing toward Aquino-backed army rebels (led by Juan Ponce Enrile, Fidel V. Ramos, and Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan). It became a fairy-tale revolution that grabbed the world’s attention. The confused Marcos and his wife Imelda fled the nation setting a precedent everywhere from South Africa to South America to Pakistan. Cory was called a modern-day Joan of Arc.

Her politician husband Senator Benigno was assassinated at Manila's international airport in 1983 on his return from exile in the United States. Accusing Marcos of ordering the murder, Cory Aquino led protest marches. She was convinced to run for president under LABAN party during 1986 snap elections. Both candidates claimed victory in the election, but Marcos fled into exile when the army turned against him.

During Cory’s presidency, she preferred to be called Mrs. President instead of Madame President. She encountered seven coup attempts by the military. She was praised for her courage. Aside from army intervention, natural disasters, including Mount Pinatubo's huge volcanic eruption in 1991, severely battered the economy. A devout Catholic, she often turned to her faith to guide her through difficult times.

She endorsed Fidel V. Ramos in the next election and became her successor.

Cory whose full name is María Corazón Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino was born on January 25, 1933 into one of the Philippines’ richest families, the Cojuangcos. She was the daughter of a three-time congressman. She married Benigno, one of the country's most promising politicians, and they had four daughters and a son before he was thrown into prison by Marcos and then forced into exile.

She was involved in protests that brought an end to the presidency of former movie actor Joseph "Erap" Estrada in 2001, and has supported the campaign to oust current President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who was accused of corruption and election fraud.

Arroyo, who is in the United States on a visit, announced a 10-day period of national mourning and said in a message: "Today the Philippines lost a national treasure. She helped lead our nation to a brighter day."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: "Like millions of people worldwide, Bill (former U.S. President Bill Clinton) and I were inspired by her quiet strength and her unshakable commitment to justice and freedom. We join the American and Filipino people in honoring her life and memory."

More Facts:

  • 1st Filipina President and Asia's 1st Female President (1986)
  • 1st Filipina President of the 5th Republic of the Philippines (1986)
  • 1st Filipina and 1st Woman to receive the J. William Fullbright Prize for International Understanding (1996)
  • 11th President of the Republic of the Philippines
  • Time Magazine's Woman of the Year 1986

January 25, 1933

Tarlac, Philippines

FATHER: Don Jose Cojuangco
MOTHER: Doña Demetria Sumulong

HUSBAND: Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.
CHILDREN: Benigno (Noynoy), Maria Elena, Aurora Corazon, Victoria Eliza, and Kristina Bernadette (Kris Aquino – TV Host / Actress)

Corazon Aquino grew up as the sixth of eight children in a family of wealthy landowners.

After attending exclusive grade schools, she went to the United States in 1946 to continue her secondary education at Ravenhill Academy in Philadelphia, Notre Dame convent school in New York, and the College of Mount St. Vincent in New York. In 1953, she earned a degree in French and mathematics. She returned to Manila to study law and met Benigno S. Aquino Jr., an aspiring politician whom she married in 1954.

Were you at EDSA during 1986 People Power Revolution?

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Did you go to Cory Aquino's wake or burial or did you go out to see the funeral procession?

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Cory Aquino
Cory Aquino

People Power - Remembering the 1986 EDSA Revolution

Cory Aquino Funeral March/Procession at Ayala Avenue before arriving at Manila Cathedral

Lea Salonga sings "Bayan Ko" at Cory Aquino Funeral

Cory Aquino Funeral Procession to the Manila Memorial Park while Martin Nievera and Regine Velasquez Sing "The Prayer"


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    • profile image

      jho santiago 6 years ago

      I miss my mother every time I see this page and read about her as our icon of democracy. She will be our next topic in our Phil history subject.

      thanks po.

      mam jho

    • dyesebel10 profile image

      dyesebel10 8 years ago from USA

      Thank you MercuryNewsOnline for the comment.

    • MercuryNewsOnline profile image

      MercuryNewsOnline 8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Salamat sa mahusay na pagbabalita.

    • dyesebel10 profile image

      dyesebel10 8 years ago from USA

      Very well said. Thank you Cherish and Anak Bayan for the comments.

    • profile image

      Anak Bayan 8 years ago

      I just want to share this with you mga kapatid kong Filipino I have also a mother who is 75 years old at ang kagandahan po nya ay di lamang po pang labas ngunit sa loob din po nya na busilak ang puso pagka po may humihingi ng tulong financial man ay talaga po nya tinutulungan dahil lagi po sinasabi ng aking Ina na hindi masama tumulong at baka iyong tao ay magutom at pag sinabi ko po na baka niloloko lang po cya noong tao ay pinagsasabihan po nya ako ng huwag ako ganoon mahirap lng po daw iyong mga tao dumating din po sa punto na niloko nga lng po sya pero ok lng po sa aking Ina at iyon po ay di ko maintindihan bakit po ganoon kabuti ng aking Ina kya po ramdam ko ang naranasan ni Ms. Kris Aquino ng mawala ang kanyang pinakakamamahal na Ina ang alaala ng kabutihan ng kanyang Ina ay hindi nya malilimutan at tagos ito hangang sa puso nya kaya I know Cory's attitude the way she speak and talk with her lovely smile, Thank you po sa lahat ng nagawa po ninyo sa amin kayo po ay sumasagisag ang aming tunay na Inang Bayan nagkatawan tao lang po kayo...

    • profile image

      cherish 8 years ago

      Now alam na natin ang puti sa decolor hah! mag silbing aral ito sa mga naka posisyon maghasik tayo ng kabutihan at huwag mangurakot... cge ka di nadadala ang pera sa langit narito tayo sa daig dig para bigyan tyo ng pagkakataon na magpakabait...

    • dyesebel10 profile image

      dyesebel10 8 years ago from USA

      I agree with you Charia. I cried when I watched the news and development on tv. Thanks for the comment.

    • Charia Samher profile image

      Charia Samher 8 years ago

      I still feel like crying every time I have thought of her. It was only after her death that I had truly known her. It was only after her death that I can say that I love her; the only president that made me feel that way.

    • dyesebel10 profile image

      dyesebel10 8 years ago from USA

      I'm also sad for her death. How can we ever forget the EDSA People Power in 1986? I am proud to be there. Thanks Rose.

    • rosariomontenegro profile image

      rosariomontenegro 8 years ago from NEW YORK

      Very sorry for the demise of such a great lady.

      Dyesebel, I already told you, you are an excellent journalist.