Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III
The profile of a future President of the Phillipine Republic
Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III (born February 8, 1960) is a Senator for the Philippines and a candidate for President of the Philippines in the 2010 election, intending to represent the Liberal Party. He is the only son of former President Corazon Aquino and Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr.
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 1998, he was elected to the House of Representatives as Representative of the 2nd district of Tarlac province in the 11th Congress of the Philippines; he was reelected twice, eventually becoming Deputy Speaker. 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 four 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 family-owned corporation.
On August 28, 1987, eighteen months into the presidency of Aquino’s mother, rebel soldiers led by now Sen. Gregorio Honasan staged an unsuccessful coup attempt, attempting to siege Malacañang Palace. 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.
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).
House of Representatives
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).
One of Aquino’s key legislative initiatives was to make requiring the procurement of the petroleum, oil and lubricants requirements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to be done by public bidding.
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, 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 election plans
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 Presidency at the 2010 elections.
A group of lawyers and activists formed the NAPM — the Noynoy 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 1986.
Noynoy Aquino remains single, he is a shooting and billiards enthusiast and music lover.