A taste of Asia in the heart of Austria
Tuesday October 17th 2017

P-Noy, the new Philippine president

The man who did more than anyone else to restore democracy in the Philippines – Benigno Aquino Jr. – would have been proud that his son clearly won  the election for president last May 10, 2010. The late Aquino made the ultimate sacrifice for democracy, laying down his life for it.

Ninoy, as he was affectionately called, made a courageous decision in 1983 that would not only trigger events leading up to the “people power” overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos three years later but would also inspire movements for democracy across Asia, from South Korea to Indonesia.

At the time, Aquino was the leading political opponent of Marcos, who had been duly elected as president but then declared martial law in 1972. After being imprisoned for years as a dissident, Ninoy was allowed to go to the US.

Unfortunately, when Ninoy  returned to the Philippines in 1983, he was gunned down as he stepped off the plane in Manila. It was a shot heard ’round the Far East, and beyond. The plot behind the killing remains a mystery today.

The wife, Cory Aquino led the peaceful street movement that forced Marcos to flee the presidential palace on a US helicopter on Feb. 26, 1986. He later died in exile in Hawaii.

As president, the humble but steely Cory tried hard to cement democracy in the Philippines, despite many coup attempts against her. The presidents who came after her also had their problems in a troubled land of many islands, ruthless politics, and 90 million people. Cory passed away last year.

With the couple’s son elected as president, the Aquino family’s mark on freedom in the Philippines – and indeed Asia – will now continue.

Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III promises his own revolution, this one against the country’s rampant corruption. If he has half the courage of his parents, he too will go down in history as a leader who made a difference.

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Mag. Hector Pascua

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