Former President Corazon Aquino, who ousted one of the 20th Century’s most corrupt dictators to become a global icon of democracy, died early this morning after a 16-month battle against colon cancer. She was 76.
Maria Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino (born Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco on January 25, 1933), widely known as Cory Aquino, is the widow of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., a leading figure in the political opposition against the autocratic rule of Ferdinand Marcos.
After her husband was assassinated upon his return from exile in the United States on August 21, 1983, Aquino, who had no prior political experience, became a focal point and unifying force of the opposition against Marcos. She was drafted to run against Marcos in the 1986 snap presidential elections.
After Marcos was proclaimed the winner despite widespread reports of electoral fraud, Aquino was installed as President by the peaceful 1986 People Power Revolution. She was the 11th President of the Philippines, serving from 1986 to 1992. She was the first female President of the Philippines and was Asia’s first female President.
Last year, she was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer and was confined to a Manila hospital for more than a month. Unfortunately, the cancer had spread to other organs and she was too weak to continue her chemotherapy. And early this morning, she gave her “last deep breath” while her family was praying the rosary.
President Cory, you are a world-renowned advocate of democracy, peace, women’s empowerment, and religious piety. The Filipino people are honored to have had a leader like you.
May you now rest in peace.