On January 25, 1933, Maria Corazon “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino, the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold such office, was born in Manila.
Cory, as she is affectionately known, is best remembered for leading the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, which toppled the authoritarian regime of the late President Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines.
She was revered by many Filipinos as the Philippines’ “Icon of Democracy.” She was also hailed by TIME Magazine as the “Saint of Democracy,” due to her well-known spiritual life and strong adherence to non-violence and democracy.
Prior to her post as President, Cory was known as the self-proclaimed “plain housewife” of the late Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., the popular opposition leader and staunchest critic of the Marcos administration, who was assassinated on August 21, 1983 upon returning to the Philippines after his exile in the United States.
This tragic event, however united the fragmented opposition against the authoritarian rule of the Marcos regime. It called for widowed Cory to enter into political arena against Marcos with one million signatures that encouraged her to run in a snap elections.
The snap election called by Marcos held on February 7, 1986 was marred by massive electoral fraud, violence, intimidation, coercion and disenfranchisement of voters.
Cory who ran for president with former senator Salvador “Doy” Laurel as her vice-president, called for massive civil disobedience protests against Marcos. She declared herself real winner in the elections.
Filipinos enthusiastically heeded her call and rallied behind her. These series of events eventually led to the ouster of Marcos notably when then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and General Fidel V. Ramos, then chief of the defunct Philippine Constabulary and Integrated National Police, announced their withdrawal of support from Marcos with their strong belief that Aquino was the real winner in the presidential election.
To the amazement and admiration of the entire world, after twenty years in Malacanang, Marcos was driven out from power and Cory was formally and peacefully sworn on February 25, 1986 as the new president, a historic event which is now known and remembered as the 1986 EDSA “People Power” Revolution.
She finished her term in 1992 and returned to private life although she remained active in the public eye, constantly voicing her views and opinions on pressing political issues in the country.
She died on August 1, 2009 of colon cancer at the age of 76.
Reference: Philippine News Agency archives
Photo: Wikipedia Commons