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Aquino son to run for president

Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino, Sept 2009
"Noynoy" is running on his mother's image as uncorrupted democrat

Benigno Aquino has announced he will run for the Philippine presidency, 40 days after the death of his mother, former President Cory Aquino.

Mr "Noynoy" Aquino, 49, said he wanted to build on the democracy established when his mother was swept to office by the 1986 People Power revolution.

His father, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino was assassinated on his return from exile in 1983 by the Marcos dictatorship.

Elections are due in 2010 and current President Gloria Arroyo cannot run.

A senator and member of parliament for 11 years, Mr Aquino said the outpouring of grief for his mother's death persuaded him to run.

Cory Aquino died of cancer on 1 August and hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets in mourning.

Family values

Mr Aquino made the announcement at the Club Filipino in the capital, Manila, where his mother had been sworn into office after the dramatic People Power movement banished the military dictatorship led by Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.

"I am accepting the responsibility to continue this nation's fight. I am accepting the challenge to lead this fight. I am running for the presidency in the coming election," Mr Aquino told a crowd of cheering supporters.

He will lead the opposition Liberal Party in the May 2010 polls, with President Gloria Arroyo mandated by the constitution to step down after her six-year term.

Supporters of former Philippine President Corazon "Cory" Aquino pray for her recovery from cancer at a "healing mass" on 3 July at a Catholic chapel in Manilas financial district
Mrs Aquino's supporters had offered prayers for her recovery

Mr Aquino's decision to run establishes a dynasty based on his long-established land-owning clan based in Tarlac, central Philippines.

"I want to make democracy work not just for the rich and the well-connected, but for everybody," Mr Aquino said.

Along with his famous parentage, well-known sister Kris Aquino, and a bullet in his neck from a coup attempt against his mother, Mr Aquino's bachelor status is also galvanising attention.

His nickname, Noynoy comes from his grandfather, a former speaker in the House of Representatives.

Other candidacies for the election are not yet clear, but Imelda Marcos, 80, has spoken of her hopes for her son, Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos, to run for the highest office.

Mr Aquino's first cousin, Gilberto Teodoro could be leading the ruling coalition's bid to hold on to the presidency.

Also in the wings is another former president, and movie star, Joseph 'Erap' Estrada, who was deposed by current President Arroyo.



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SEE ALSO
Obituary: Corazon Aquino
31 Jul 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Corazon Aquino: Your reaction
01 Aug 09 |  Asia-Pacific
World reaction: Corazon Aquino dies
01 Aug 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Philippines country profile
19 Oct 11 |  Country profiles

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