Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III also known as Noynoy Aquino, is the 15th and current President of the Philippines. Aquino is a fourth-generation politician: his great-grandfather, Servillano "Mianong" Aquino, served as a delegate to the Malolos Congress; his grandfather, Benigno Aquino, Sr., held several legislative positions from 1919–44; and his parents were former President Corazon Aquino and former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. Aquino is a member of the Liberal Party.

Born in Manila, Aquino graduated from Ateneo de Manila University in 1981 and joined his family in their exile in the United States shortly thereafter. He returned to the Philippines in 1983 shortly after the assassination of his father and held several positions working in the private sector. In 1998, he was elected to the House of Representatives as Representative of the 2nd district of Tarlac province. He was subsequently re-elected to the House in 2001 and 2004. In 2007, having been barred from running for re-election to the House due to the term limit, he was elected to the Senate in the 14th Congress of the Philippines.

Following the death of his mother on August 1, 2009, many people began calling on Aquino to run for president. On September 9, 2009, Aquino officially announced he would be a candidate in the 2010 presidential election, held on May 10, 2010.

On June 9, 2010, the Congress of the Philippines proclaimed Aquino the winner of the 2010 presidential election.

On June 30, 2010, at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, Manila, Aquino was sworn into office as the fifteenth President of the Philippines, succeeding Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, by Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Conchita Carpio-Morales.

Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Cojuangco Aquino III was born on February 8, 1960 in Manila. Aquino is the third of the five children of Benigno Aquino, Jr., who was then the Vice Governor of Tarlac province, and Corazon Aquino. He has four sisters, Maria Elena (Ballsy) Aquino-Cruz, Aurora Corazon (Pinky) Aquino-Abellada, Victoria Eliza (Viel) Aquino-Dee, and Kristina Bernadette (Kris) Aquino-Yap.

From 1965 to 1981, Aquino attended Ateneo de Manila University from elementary to college.

Eleven months after Aquino's father, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., was arrested and detained for "advocating the overthrow of the government by force or violence", Ninoy was brought before a military tribunal in Moran Hall, Fort Bonifacio in August 1973. On August 25, 1973, Ninoy wrote a letter to his son, Noynoy from Fort Bonifacio at 11:10 p.m., giving advice to his son;

"The only advice I can give you: Live with honor and follow your conscience.

There is no greater nation on earth than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength.

Son, the ball is now in your hands."

In 1981, Aquino graduated from Ateneo de Manila University, earning a Bachelor's degree in Economics. Shortly after graduation, he joined his family in Newton, Massachusetts, in exile.

In 1983, after two years in exile in the United States, Aquino returned to the Philippines with his family, shortly after the assassination of his father on August 21, 1983. He had a short tenure as a member of the Philippine Business for Social Progress, working as an assistant of the executive director of PBSP. He later joined Mondragon Industries Philippines, Inc. as an assistant Retail Sales Supervisor and assistant promotions manager for Nike Philippines, Inc.

From 1986 to 1992, during the presidency of his mother, Aquino joined the Intra-Strata Assurance Corporation, a company owned by his uncle Antolin Oreta Jr., as vice president.

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 Malacañang Palace. Aquino was two blocks from the palace when he came under fire. Three of Aquino's four security escorts were killed, and the last was wounded protecting him. He himself was hit by five bullets, one of which is still embedded in his neck.

From 1993 to 1998, Aquino worked for Central Azucarera de Tarlac, the sugar refinery in charge of the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita, as the executive assistant for administration from 1993 to 1996, then he worked as manager for field services from 1996 to 1998.

The Budget Impoundment and Control Act (SB 3121), wherein "impoundment" refers to the power of the President to refuse the release of funds appropriated by the Congress of the Philippines, is another bill Aquino is proud of; he regretted, however, that such power has been used and abused by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a result of which abuse has been the significant emasculation of Congress' ability to check the President's authority. Aquino filed this bill so the President would have to pass through Congress every time the President decides to impound part of the budget.

Another significant Aquino contribution to the Philippines' corruption problem is Senate Bill 2035, which is the Preservation of Public Infrastructures bill, seeking to raise standards in the construction of all public infrastructures by penalizing contractors of defective infrastructures. The bill also requires the Bureau of Maintenance under the Department of Public Works and Highways to conduct periodic inspections of public infrastructures.

Aquino also pushed for the passage of the Amending the Government Procurement Act (SB 2160), which applies to all government procurement activities regardless of source of funds whether local or foreign; only treaties or international/executive agreements entered into by the government prior to its enactment shall be exempt from coverage. The bill was filed in light of the Department of Justice declaration regarding the validity of the controversial NBN-ZTE scandal, wherein its international aspect, as well as the fact that it was an executive agreement, was cited as one reason for its exemption from the procurement process stipulated in Republic Act 9184.

Focusing further on accountability in government appropriations and spending, Aquino filed other reform-oriented, well-thought-out types of bills, among which were for: Philippine National Police reform; an increase in penalties for corporations and work establishments not compliant with minimum wage; the banning of reappointment to the Judicial and Bar Council; the prevention of reappointment and bypassing of the Commission on Appointments; real property valuation based on international standards; and superior responsibility for senior military officers, who are ultimately responsible for their own subordinates. However, none of these bills were passed into law.

The Presidency of Benigno S. Aquino III began at noon on June 30, 2010, when he became the fifteenth President of the Philippines, succeeding Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Aquino is the third-youngest person to be elected president, and the fourth-youngest president after Emilio Aguinaldo, Ramon Magsaysay and Ferdinand Marcos. Aquino is the first president to be a bachelor, being unmarried and having no children. Aquino is the second president not to drink alcoholic beverages; the first president not to drink alcohol was Emilio Aguinaldo. Aquino is the eighth president to be a smoker. Aquino is the first graduate of Ateneo de Manila University to become president. Aquino is the third president who will only hold office in Malacañang Palace, but not be a resident, following Corazon Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos. Aquino is the third president to use his second given name, Simeon, as his middle initial, as Manuel L. Quezon and José P. Laurel did. Aquino is the second president to be a child of a former president, his mother was former President Corazon Aquino; the first president to be a child of a former president was President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is the daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal.

The presidential transition began on June 9, 2010, when the Congress of the Philippines proclaimed Aquino the winner of the 2010 Philippine presidential elections held on May 10, 2010, proclaiming Aquino as the President-elect of the Philippines. The transition was in charge of the new presidential residence, cabinet appointments and cordial meetings between them and the outgoing administration.

Traditionally, it is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines who administers the oath of office to the incoming President and Vice President, however, Aquino refused to allow Chief Justice Renato Corona to swear him into office, due to Aquino's opposition to the midnight appointment of Corona by outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on May 12, 2010, two days after the 2010 elections and a month before Arroyo's term expired. Instead, Aquino formally requested Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Conchita Carpio-Morales, who opposed the midnight appointment of Corona, to swear him into office.

Aquino took the oath of office on June 30, 2010, at the Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park, Manila. The oath of office was administered by Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, who officially accepted Aquino's request to swear him into office, reminiscent of the decision of his mother, who in 1986, was sworn into the presidency by Associate Justice Claudio Teehankee. After being sworn in as the fifteenth President of the Philippines, succeeding Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Aquino delivered his inaugural address.

On June 29, 2010, a day before Aquino's inauguration, Aquino officially named the members of his Cabinet, with Aquino himself as Secretary of the Interior and Local Government. Aquino also announced the formation of a truth commission that will investigate various issues including corruption allegations against outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Aquino named former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. to head the truth commission.

From June 30–July 9, 2010, Aquino was Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, until Aquino named Jesse Robredo, a former Naga mayor, as Interior Secretary.

The new presidential residence of Aquino is Bahay Pangarap (English: House of Dreams). Bahay Pangarap has one-bedroom and a swimming pool, and is located at the headquarters of the Presidential Security Group across the Pasig River from Malacañang Palace. Bahay Pangarap was built and designed by architect Juan Arellano in the 1930s, and underwent a number of renovations, with the latest renovation in 2008 led by architect Conrad Onglao. Bahay Pangarap was used by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to welcome special guests. Aquino refused to live in Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines, or in Arlegui Mansion, the residence of former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos, stating that the two residences are too big, and also stated that his small family residence at Times Street in Quezon City would be impractical, since it would be a security concern for his neighbors.

On July 14, 2010, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) called an emergency meeting in Camp Aguinaldo to assess the damage caused by Typhoon Basyang. Aquino attended the meeting to obtain information on the damage caused by Typhoon Basyang and to personally monitor the repair and recovery work in the aftermath of the typhoon. In the meeting, Aquino criticized the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) for failing to predict and to warn the residents of Metro Manila that Typhoon Basyang would ravage Metropolitan Manila.

On July 26, 2010, at the Batasang Pambansa, in Quezon City, Aquino delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA)

Aquino is the first president to be a bachelor, being unmarried and having no children. Aquino is currently in a relationship with Shalani Soledad, a 30-year-old Valenzuela councilor and niece of former Senator Francisco Tatad. Aquino and Soledad first met around 2000 or 2001, when she interviewed him for a media project; they ran into each other some years later, in August 2008, and began going out.

He had previously dated Korina Sanchez, and Bernadette Sembrano. Aquino had been an enthusiast of shooting and billiards, but today, he relaxes by playing computer games since he could no longer engage in the first two aforementioned pastimes. He is a history buff, an audiophile and enjoys listening to music.

He does not drink alcoholic beverages. He is the second president not to drink alcohol, the first being Emilio Aguinaldo. Aquino is a smoker, and has admitted to smoking up to three packs a day. During his presidential campaign, Aquino promised to quit smoking if he wins the election. However, he decided later he would not quit smoking, preferring to do it at the "appropriate" time. He also said he is not keen on being a poster boy for anti-smoking advocates. He is the eighth president to be a smoker.