Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III has always viewed politics as a necessary vehicle for change, a perspective he formed early in life through the examples set by both of his parents.
- 15th President of the Philippines – In office June 30, 2010 – June 30, 2016
- Senator Senate of the Philippines – 14th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines
- Member House of Representatives – (1998-2001; 2001-2004; 2004-2007)
- Deputy Speaker House of Representatives – 13th Congress of the Philippines (November 8, 2004-February 21, 2006)
- Vice Chairman Liberal Party of the Philippines – (March 17, 2006 to present)
- Secretary General Liberal Party of the Philippines – (2004 to March 16, 2006)
- Vice-Pres. for Luzon Liberal Party of the Philippines – (2002-2004)
- Secretary General Liberal Party of the Philippines – (1999-2002)
- Chairman of the Board – Central Luzon Congressional Caucus
- AB Economics Ateneo de Manila University (1977-1981)
- Secondary Education Ateneo de Manila University (1973-1977)
- Primary Education Ateneo de Manila University (1965-1973)
Benigno Aquino III, in full Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III, also called Noynoy, (born February 8, 1960, Manila, Philippines—died June 24, 2021, Manila), Filipino politician who served as president of the Philippines (2010–16) and was the scion of a famed political family.
He was the son of Corazon Aquino, who served as president of the Philippines (1986–92), and political leader Benigno Simeon Aquino, Jr.—themselves the children of politically connected families. The elder Benigno, an opposition figure to Pres. Ferdinand Marcos who was imprisoned when the younger Benigno was a child, was released and allowed to go to the United States in 1980. The following year the younger Benigno, after graduating from Ateneo de Manila University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, followed his family to Boston. His father returned to the Philippines in 1983 intending to challenge Marcos for the presidency but was assassinated immediately on arrival. The family nevertheless returned to the country soon afterward, and there the young Aquino worked for companies including Philippine Business for Social Progress and Nike Philippines.
He became vice president of his family’s Best Security Agency Corporation in 1986, the same year that his mother was named president of the Philippines after her opposition party successfully charged incumbent President Marcos with voting fraud. Aquino left the company in 1993 to work for another family-owned business, a sugar refinery. Finally, in 1998, he made the move to politics as a member of the Liberal Party, serving the constitutional maximum of three consecutive terms as a representative of the 2nd district of Tarlac province. During this time he also served as deputy speaker of the House of Representatives (2004–06), but he resigned from the post in advance of joining other Liberal Party leaders in making a call for the resignation of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2001–10), who was accused of corrupt dealings including the rigging of the 2004 presidential election. From 2006 Aquino served as vice-chairman of the Liberal Party, and in 2007, at the end of his final term in the House of Representatives, he made a successful bid for a Senate seat.
In September 2009 Aquino announced his candidacy in the 2010 presidential race. His mother, to many a symbol of democratic rule in the Philippines, had died the previous month, an event that heightened Aquino’s profile and served as a catalyst for his seeking higher office. Though his opponents for the presidency included such seasoned politicians as Joseph Estrada, who had previously served as president of the Philippines (1998–2001), Aquino was considered the front-runner from the time that he entered the race. In the elections held on May 10, Aquino won the presidency by a wide margin.
Aquino’s chief domestic accomplishment was the conclusion of a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in October 2012. The deal promised a significant amount of autonomy to a Muslim-majority region of southern Mindanao and seemingly concluded four decades of deadly conflict. Economic growth in the Philippines was strong during Aquino’s administration, but unemployment remained high, and opposition politicians argued that the benefits chiefly accrued to the country’s elite. Aquino also faced criticism over his government’s slow response to Super Typhoon Haiyan, which killed some 8,000 people and displaced more than 800,000 when it hit the Philippines in November 2013. The most significant foreign policy issue of Aquino’s term in office was China’s increasingly assertive posture in the South China Sea. The Philippines sought a judgment from the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague to clarify the ownership of a reef that was claimed by China despite the fact that it lay within Philippine territorial waters. Although the court later ruled that China had no claim to the reef and that China’s actions had constituted a violation of the Philippines’ sovereignty, China dismissed the decision. Limited to a single six-year term, Aquino supported Manuel (“Mar”) Roxas to succeed him in 2016. Roxas, the grandson of Pres. Manuel Roxas, represented the mainstream political establishment at a time when voters were clearly frustrated with the status quo, and he finished a distant second to inflammatory populist Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte succeeded Aquino as president on June 30, 2016.
In 1998, he ran for a seat in the House of Representatives and won. He would serve as Congressman of the 2nd District of Tarlac until 2007.
In his nine years at the Lower House, Noynoy focused on the fiscalizing role of a legislator. He felt that there were already too many laws, and good ones at that, but they seemingly lacked proper implementation. He concentrated on crafting laws that would help create opportunity rather than impose additional burdens to those who are already disadvantaged. He actively took part in budget deliberations to ensure that government initiatives do address the plight of the people who need help the most.
His commitment to continue the legacy of his parents was evident in his performance. In November 2004, he became Deputy House Speaker of Luzon, but he relinquished the post when he joined leaders of the Liberal Party (LP) in calling for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the height of the “Hello Garci” scandal. To him, it was easier to give up the position than abandon his duty to hold accountable those who do wrong.
In May 2007, he ran for Senator and won, placing 6th in the national elections. He chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government, and is also the vice-chairperson of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights. He had been determined to ensure that his key legislative initiatives would bear fruit and to see them through until the end of his term.
However, fate had other plans for him. The passing of his mother, former President Cory Aquino, stirred a long-dormant yearning for good leadership. Filipinos from all walks of life, here and abroad, began to look at Noynoy as the new hope for a better Philippines. The groundswell calling for him to run for President became too loud to ignore, and eventually overcame his reluctance.
In his letter from prison many years ago, Ninoy said to Noynoy, “Son, the ball is now in your hands.”
Today, the people want the future back into their own hands and Noynoy will not let them down.
His critics say he merely trades on his good name and skeptics consider him a lightweight. Rivals accuse him of wrongdoing despite a clearly unblemished record. Noynoy’s detractors have been busy trying to bring him down, but their efforts have only allowed him to improve his popularity.
Noynoy is an economist by education, a lawmaker by vocation. He is an audiophile, history buff, marksman and self-taught billiards sharpie. He is a loving brother and uncle, and a steadfast friend. He is also destined to be the one to finally lead our country towards a brighter future.
“There is no greater nation than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength.” – Ninoy Aquino in a letter to his only son Noynoy.