Languages
Page last updated at 14:33 GMT, Tuesday, 29 June 2010 15:33 UK

Profile: Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino

Benigno Aquino in Manila (29 June 2010)
Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino is loved for his parentage

The man set to be sworn in as the next Philippine president, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, has a name fit for the job.

The fate of his father, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, electrified his country when he was assassinated in 1983.

Ninoy Aquino had been in exile in the United States, forced to flee the martial law of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. Determined to bring democracy to his country he flew back to Manila only to be killed on landing.

Tens of thousands of people joined the outpouring of grief, fuelling a pro-democracy movement that President Marcos responded to by calling a snap election in February 1986.

Young Noynoy's mother, Corazon "Cory" Aquino, was the standard-bearer, the "housewife" who accepted the role foisted on her by widowhood and vowed to carry on her husband's work.

The Marcoses claimed victory - sparking the first famous People Power revolution against them. The million people who gathered on the streets felt they were risking their lives to save democracy.

Cory Aquino became president, going on to survive several coup attempts - one of which resulted in young Noynoy almost being killed in a shoot-out at the presidential Malacanang Palace in 1987.

One of the five bullets that hit him then is still lodged in his neck.

Congress career

Growing up in the shadow of such admired parents, with four sisters - one of whom, Kris, is a prominent TV personality - Noynoy, himself a bachelor, has often been the quiet Aquino.

He earned a degree in economics from the elite Ateneo university in Manila before joining his family in exile in Boston.

On his return to the Philippines after 1983, he worked in various businesses, including the Cojuangco sugar refinery in his home Tarlac province.

He was elected to Congress in 1988, winning re-election in 2001 and 2004. In June 2007 he won a seat in the Senate.

He is said to lack charisma, and did little to stand out in 12 years as a member of Congress and the Senate. But he did serve on a wide range of committees and so is familiar with the issues of governance.

In 2009 his mother died of cancer and again, tens of thousands of Filipinos surged onto the streets to show their love for this family.

Filipinos remain desperate for what his name symbolises - the principles of clean, honest, committed democracy.

After a landslide victory in the May polls, he now takes charge of a country struggling with widespread corruption, poverty and ageing infrastructure.

He has pledged to establish a commission to investigate allegations of corruption levelled against his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo.

But he has also played down the expectations heaped on him by many Filipinos, warning a president would have to be "Superman and Einstein combined" to solve the country's problems immediately.

Whether the single, 51-year old Noynoy Aquino can cope with the huge pressures of office, conflicts of interests and likely conspiracies against him to actually run his country remains to be seen.

Mr Aquino's family name has got him into office. Observers will be watching closely to see where he goes from here.



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Millions vote in Philippines poll
10 May 10 |  Asia-Pacific
Philippine poll: Key candidates
04 May 10 |  Asia-Pacific
Philippines vote machine 'errors'
04 May 10 |  Asia-Pacific
Personality and patronage in Philippine polls
07 May 10 |  Asia-Pacific
Marcos bids for Philippine seat
26 Mar 10 |  Asia-Pacific
Philippine poll campaign begins
09 Feb 10 |  Asia-Pacific
Timeline: The Philippines
17 Oct 11 |  Country profiles


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific