|Benigno Simeon "Noynoy"
Cojuangco Aquino III (born February 8, 1960) is a Senator of
the Philippines and a candidate for President of the
Philippines in the 2010 election, as the standard-bearer of
the Liberal Party. He is the only son of former President
Corazon Aquino and former
A graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, he was seriously
wounded by rebel soldiers in a failed coup attempt during
his mother's presidency. In 1989, he was elected to the
House of Representatives as Representative of the 2nd
district of Tarlac province in the 11th Congress of the
Philippines. In 2007, he was elected to the Senate of the
14th Congress of the Philippines.
He is also the brother of TV host and actress Kris Aquino.
Early life and education
Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Cojuangco Aquino III was born on
February 8, 1960. He is the third of the of five children of
Benigno Aquino, Jr., who was then Vice Governor of Tarlac
province, and Corazon Aquino. He has three sisters, Maria
Elena ("Ballsy"), Aurora Corazon ("Pinky"), Victoria Eliza
("Viel"), and Kristina Bernadette ("Kris").
Aquino studied in Ateneo de Manila University for his
elementary, high school, and college education, graduating
in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. After
college, he joined his family in Boston in exile.
In 1983, shortly after the murder of his father,
Noynoy had a
short tenure as a member of the Philippine Business for
Social Progress. From 1985 to 1986, he was retail sales
supervisor and youth promotions assistant for Nike
Philippines and later an assistant for advertising and
promotion for Mondragon Philippines. In 1986, he joined
Intra-Strata Assurance Corp. as vice-president of the
On August 28, 1987, eighteen months into the presidency of
Aquino's mother, rebel soldiers led by Gregorio Honasan
staged an unsuccessful coup attempt, attempting to siege
Aquino was two blocks from the palace when he came under
fire. Three of his four security escorts were killed, and
the last was wounded protecting him. Aquino himself was hit
by five bullets, one of which is still embedded in his neck.
From 1986 to 1993, Aquino was vice president and treasurer
for Best Security Agency Corporation, a firm owned by his
uncle Antolin Oreta. He went to work for the Central
Azucarera de Tarlac in 1993, the sugar refinery owned by the
Cojuangco clan. He started out as an executive assistant for
administration, before becoming field services manager in
Aquino is a leading member of the Liberal Party. He
currently holds the position of Vice Chairman of the Liberal
Party, having assumed the post on 17 March 2006. He was
previously Secretary General of the party (1999-2002),
Vice-President of the Luzon Liberal Party (2002-2004), and
Secretary General of the party (2004-16 March 2006).
Aquino is associated with a faction of the Liberal Party
which opposes the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,
citing alleged human rights violations.
House of Representatives
elected to the House of Representatives in 1998,
representing the 2nd District of Tarlac. He won re-election
in 2001 and 2004, and served until 2007.
Aquino served on numerous committees as a member of
Congress: the Public Order and Security, Transportation and
Communications, Agriculture, Banks &and Financial
Intermediaries, Peoples’ Participation, Suffrage and
Electoral Reforms, Appropriations, Natural Resources, and
Trade and Industry committees (11th Congress), the Civil,
Political and Human Rights, Good Government, Public Order
and Security, Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy
committees (12th Congress), and the Banks and Financial
Intermediaries, Energy, Export Promotion, Public Order and
Safety committees (13th Congress).
Aquino was also Deputy Speaker from November 8, 2004 to
February 21, 2006.
Barred by term limits from seeking a fourth term as the
Representative for the second district of Tarlac province,
Aquino was elected to the Senate in the May 14, 2007 midterm
elections under the banner of the Genuine Opposition (GO), a
coalition comprising a number of parties, including his own
Liberal Party, seeking to curb attempts by President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo to amend the Constitution. In his political
ads, he was endorsed by younger sister, TV host Kris Aquino,
and mother, the late former President Corazon Aquino.
Although a devout Roman Catholic, he was endorsed by one of
the largest Protestant churches in the Philippines, the
Jesus is Lord. With more than 14.3 million votes, Aquino's
tally was the sixth highest of the 37 candidates for the 12
vacant seats elected from the nation at large. He assumed
his new office on June 30, 2007.
During the campaign, Aquino reached out to his former enemy,
Senator Gregorio Honasan, supporting his application for
bail. "I endorse Honasan's request for bail para parehas ang
laban. I was hit by bullets from Honasan's men in the neck
and hips but that's past now. The principle of my father
was, ' Respect the rights even of your enemies.' Ito ang
nagpatingkad ng demokrasya. Genuine reconciliation is
democracy in action," Aquino told Job Tabada of Cebu Daily
News on 5 March 2007. He was referring to two bloody coup
attempts against his mother in 1987 and 1989, in the first
of which Aquino was seriously injured.
2010 presidential campaign
In the Liberal Party, Aquino has held various positions such
as Secretary General and Vice President for Luzon. He is
currently the LP Vice-Chairman.
After the death of President Corazon Aquino, calls for him
to run for higher office reached its highest and he has
decided after the retreat that he would run as a candidate
for the Presidency in the 2010 National Elections.
A group of lawyers and activists formed the NAPM — the
Noynoy Aquino for President Movement — and a nationwide
campaign led by the son of the late influential businessman,
Chino Roces, began to collect a million signatures in order
to persuade Aquino to run for President. In the last weekend
of August, Senator Aquino and his fellow partymate in the
Liberal Party, Senator Mar Roxas and an unnamed presidential
aspirant commenced days of talks to decide what to do for
next year's elections.
On September 1, 2009, in a press conference at the Club
Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City, Senator Roxas, a
leading candidate for the Liberal Party nomination announced
his withdrawal in the presidential race and expressed his
support for Aquino's candidacy. Sen. Aquino later stood side
by side Sen. Roxas, but did not make a public statement on
the said press conference.
On September 9, 2009, 40 days after the death of his mother,
Aquino officially announced his bid for the Presidency in a
press conference at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San
Juan City, which also served as the site of his mother's
Presidential Inauguration in February 1986.
While Aquino currently enjoys considerable support, those
who stand to lose from his victory in the presidential race
claim that this can only be attributed to both his parents'
successes and not his own. However, months after the death
of his mother, his popularity remains strong and analysts
say that his lead is a sure sign of victory, unless he is
cheated or blunders heavily. In 11 years in
government, critics have said that Aquino has not made any
significant contributions to legislation. But various
documents have been released showing that he has
accomplished much in his three years in the Senate.
On a similar note,
Noynoy's detractors have also pointed out that, at
almost 50 years old he has neither a wife nor any children .
Aquino had lived with his mother, the former president,
until her death, and has said if he becomes president, he
would choose to live in his modest ancestral home than in
the presidential palace.
Another issue is
Noynoy's stake in his family's 7,500 hectare estate,
Hacienda Luisita. His mother, the former president Corazon
Aquino, was also criticized on these grounds, especially in
failing to push for land redistribution reforms given their
alleged conflict of interest. But the stock distribution
option was ratified three times by a referanda by the farmer
beneficiaries. In 2004, a clash with government troops and
farms led to the massacre of 12 picketing farmers and 2
children and the injury of hundreds of other protesters.
Aquino's side of the family, which owns a miniscule
percentage, have met to deliberate how to turn over the land
to farmers fairly while giving the farmers job security at
such a timeframe that the farmers will not absorb the land's
Aquino is a shooting and billiards enthusiast He is also
an audiophile, and enjoys listening to jazz, bossa nova, and
OPM (Original Pilipino Music). One of Noynoy's favorite
Filipino artists is singer/composer Noel Cabangon.