Philippine people-power heroine Cory Aquino dies

Corazon Aquino of the Philippines, whose ousting of one of the 20th Century's most corrupt dictators made her a global icon of democracy, died on Saturday after a 16-month battle against colon cancer. She was 76.





Her family announced she died in the early hours of Saturday, shortly after a private mass was held in her hospital room. All five children were at her bedside when the end came.



"Our mother peacefully passed away at 3:18 a.m. (8:18 p.m. British time Friday) of cardio-respiratory arrest," her son, Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., told reporters.



"She would have wanted us to thank each and every one of you for all the prayers and your continuous love and support. It was her wish for all of us to pray for one another and for our country."



Aquino, known as Cory to millions of Filipinos, was president from 1986 to 1992. But she is remembered, more than two decades after the fact, as the slim woman in yellow who led the "People Power" revolution that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos.



The tumultuous events of those weeks in 1986, which came to a head when up to 1 million people waving rosaries and flowers stopped Marcos' tanks advancing towards Aquino-backed army rebels, became a fairy-tale revolution that gripped the world.



When a bewildered Marcos and his wife Imelda fled the nation, it set a stirring precedent for dissidents everywhere, from South Africa to South America to Pakistan. Aquino was hailed as a modern-day Joan of Arc.



As news of Aquino's death spread, hundreds of people began visiting her home and the EDSA shrine where her 1986 revolution culminated, leaving flowers and lighting candles. Many tied yellow ribbons to their cars, and on trees near her home.



Aquino was a reluctant leader at the start. She shed the housewife's apron only after her politician husband 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, Aquino led protest marches, but was hesitant when elections were called in 1986.



"What on earth do I know about being president?," she said before taking up the challenge to run against Marcos. Both candidates claimed victory in the election, but Marcos fled into exile when the army turned against him.



LESS SUCCESSFUL



Aquino's presidency was less successful than the revolution, with a series of coup attempts by the military keeping the administration hamstrung. She was lauded for her courage, but rarely seemed able to get on top of ruling the country.



The spectre of army intervention haunted her entire rule. Natural disasters, including Mount Pinatubo's huge volcanic eruption in 1991, severely battered the economy.



A devout Catholic, Aquino often turned to her faith to steer her through difficult times.



"There was never any moment that I doubted God would help ... If it was time to die, so be it," she said when rebel mortars pounded the presidential palace in 1987.



There was also no doubting her courage.



"I have not always won but ... I never shirked a fight," she said in 1992 before handing power over to her successor, Fidel Ramos. But she did oversee the writing of a new constitution, which among other things limited a president's time in office to one six-year term.



Born on January 25, 1933 into one of the country's richest families, the Cojuangcos, Aquino grew up in a world of wealth and politics, being 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.



Aquino seemed frail in later years, but was still game for a fight when she thought it necessary. She brought half a million people onto the street in the 1990s when her successor Ramos flirted with the idea of trying to extend his term in office.



She was involved in protests that ended the presidency of Joseph Estrada in 2001, and has supported the campaign to remove current President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo after her one-time ally 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."



Aquino's family has opted against a state funeral and plan to bury her beside Benigno after a private ceremony on Wednesday, her son said.



U.S. President Barack Obama said: "Her courage, determination, and moral leadership are an inspiration to us all and exemplify the best in the Filipino nation."



Her arch-foe Imelda Marcos, who returned to the Philippines after her husband died in exile, said: "Now that Cory is with the Lord, let us all unite and pray for her and for the Filipino people."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick