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."

News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
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

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Trainee Recruitmen...

English Teacher, full time, Broadstairs school

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We have an urgent requirement fo...

Science Teacher, full time, Medway school

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education urgently seek...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?