Former President Cory Aquino, ‘People Power’ icon dies at 76
MANILA – Former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino passed away Saturday morning after battling colon cancer for more than a year. She was 76.
“Our mother peacefully passed away at 3:18 a.m. August 1, 2009 of cardio respiratory arrest. She would have wanted us to thank each and every one of you for all the prayers and your continued love and support. It was her wish for all of us to pray for one another and our country. Hinihiling po ng aming pamilya ang konting panahon para makasama namin ang aming mahal na ina,” a statement from the Aquino family read.
Details of the former president’s wake will be announced later, the family said.
Once a reluctant housewife, Aquino was known as an icon of Philippine democracy after the EDSA ‘People Power’ revolution removed the Marcos dictatorship and restored democracy in the Southeast Asian archipelago in 1986.
Aquino served as the nation’s president until 1992 when she gave way to her successor, President Fidel Ramos. Even in retirement, she remained in the public eye and continued to speak out on political issues.
In March 2008 her family announced that Aquino had colon cancer.
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To the world, she is the widow in yellow who toppled a dictatorship in a stirring show of People Power in 1986. To her native Philippines, she is the courageous president who saw off a series of coups d’etat and single-mindedly restored the institutions of democracy. But to herself, Corazon C. Aquino is a plain housewife who, in all conscience, could not refuse her country’s call to service when her husband, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was assassinated in 1983. She continues to serve after her term of office ended in 1992 through her work with nongovernmental organizations. “What is important is that we believe in the Almighty and that we try to do whatever we can to help ease some of the sufferings of our people,” she says. “I always tell my children: ‘I don’t know how many good years I still have left, but whatever I can do at this time, I really want to be able to continue not only for the cause of democracy, but also to help in bringing about a better Filipino.” For the rest of my life, I will be doing whatever I can to improve things.”
[This profile of Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino was written by Mr. Cesar R. Bacani, Jr. for the pamphlet about her that was published by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation. It has been updated by Ms. Paulynn Paredes Sicam.]