Former Philippines President Corazon Aquino, who overthrew the Marcos regime with her populist revolt and established and maintained democracy in spite of repeated coup attempts over the course of her tenure in office, died Saturday at 3:18 a.m. (1918 GMT Friday) in Manila.
Corazon Aquino's husband was assassinated on August 21, 1983. A little over two years later, this modest women, a politically inexperienced homemaker and mother of five, led the people of the Philippines into overthrowing the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and establishing a democracy that served as an inspiration to countries struggling under oppressive regimes, the world over.
Regardless of any criticisms that were leveled at Mrs. Aquino's administration, her passing is quite deeply felt. Raul C. Pangalangan, former dean of the Law School at the University of the Philippines, said of President Aquino, "She was headstrong and single-minded in one goal, and that was to remove all vestiges of an entrenched dictatorship. We all owe her in a big way."
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has reportedly declared a period of national mourning and announced that a state funeral will be held in the Philippines for former President Aquino. President Arroyo is currently in the United States on an official visit. Arroyo said in a statement that "the entire nation is mourning" Aquino's demise.
President Aquino was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2008, and has been hospitalized in Manila for several weeks. Some of the notable awards and recognition she received for her very remarkable life include Time magazine's Woman of the Year, the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award, the United Nations Silver Medal, and the Canadian International Prize for Freedom.
Godspeed, Mrs. Aquino, and thank you.