Manila, former president Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino dies at 61
President between 2010 and 2016, his most famous acts include the peace agreement with the MILF, the Reproductive Health Act and the dispute with Beijing over the South China Sea. Cause of death unknown, but he had been suffering from health problems for some time. The death of his father sparked the revolt against the then dictator Marcos.
Manila (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Former Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, scion of the revered lineage of the Aquino family, has passed away at the age of 61. He held the position of head of state from 2010 to 2016 and his most famous acts include the decision to bring Beijing to the UN court in the context of the long-standing border dispute in the South China Sea. At the end of his mandate he had withdrawn from public life, keeping a low profile and avoiding intervening on major local and international issues.
At the moment, the official cause of his death is unknown. However, according to some sources, he had health problems, so much so that he had to undergo heart surgery. Earlier this week he had been hospitalized for medical treatment.
Aquino was born on February 8, 1960 in the capital, Manila. His mother Cory Aquino was the 11th president from 1986 to 1996, the first woman to be elected by a democratic vote, who died in 2009. His father Ninoy, a senator of the republic famous for his staunch opposition to Fernando Marcos, was assassinated in 1983 returning from a period of exile, his death represented a profound shock to the nation and triggered the popular uprisings that led to the fall of the dictator three years later, during the 1986 revolution.
Exponent of the Liberal Party, Benigno Aquino has been an active opponent of then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo since 2005, with his mother Cory and party colleagues in the front row demanding her resignation on charges of electoral fraud. Winner by a large margin in the 2010 presidential election, he promised an all-out fight against widespread corruption, poverty and inadequate infrastructure. Surrounded by great expectations, he immediately made it clear that “superman and Einstein” would be needed to solve the country's problems in a short time.
Among the most famous acts of his mandate, the historic peace agreement reached in 2014 with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the largest Muslim rebel group, after years of negotiations. It provided for greater autonomy in Muslim-majority areas on the southern island of Mindanao in exchange for an end to the armed struggle.
Accused of not having worked sufficiently for the poor, Aquino is also remembered for having approved the controversial Reproductive Health Law in December 2012, opposed by the Catholic Church because it guaranteed universal access to contraception, sex education and birth control.