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."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
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

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game