Maria Corazon “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino (25 January 1933 – 1 August 2009) was a Filipino politician who served as the 11th President of the Philippines, becoming the first woman to hold that office. Corazon Aquino was the most prominent figure of the 1986 People Power Revolution, which ended the 21-year rule of President Ferdinand Marcos. She was named Time magazine’s Woman of the Year in 1986. Prior to this, she had not held any elective office.
A self-proclaimed “plain housewife”, she was married to Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., the staunchest critic of President Marcos. She emerged as leader of the opposition after her husband was assassinated on 21 August 1983 upon returning to the Philippines from exile in the United States. In late 1985, Marcos called for a snap election, and Aquino ran for president with former senator Salvador Laurel as her running mate for vice president. After the election held on 7 February 1986, the Batasang Pambansa proclaimed Marcos and his running mate Arturo Tolentino as the winners; allegations were made of electoral fraud, with Aquino calling for massive civil disobedience actions. Defections from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the support of the local Catholic hierarchy led to the People Power Revolution that ousted Marcos and secured Aquino’s accession on 25 February 1986.
As President, Aquino oversaw the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution, which limited the powers of the Presidency and re-established the bicameral Congress. Her administration provided strong emphasis on and concern for civil liberties and human rights, and on peace talks to resolve the ongoing Communist insurgency and Islamist secession movements. Her economic policies centered on restoring economic health and confidence and focused on creating a market-oriented and socially responsible economy. In 1987, she became the first Filipino to be bestowed with the prestigious Prize For Freedom Award.Several coup attempts were made against Aquino’s government; it also faced various natural calamities until the end of her term in 1992. She was succeeded as President by Fidel Ramos, and returned to civilian life while remaining public about her opinions on political issues. In recognition for her role in the world’s most peaceful revolution to attain democracy, she was awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1998.
Aquino was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2008; she died on 1 August 2009. Her monuments of peace and democracy were established in the capital Manila and her home province of Tarlac after her death. Her son Benigno Aquino III became President of the Philippines from 30 June 2010 to 30 June 2016. Throughout her life, Aquino was known to be a devout Roman Catholic, and was fluent in French, Japanese, Spanish, and English aside from her native Tagalog and Kapampangan. She is highly regarded by the international diplomatic community as the Mother of Democracy.