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Maria Corazon Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino (January 25, 1933 – August 1, 2009) was the 11th President of the Philippines and the first woman to hold that office. Aquino was also the first female president and head of state in Asia. She is best remembered for leading the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy in the Philippines. She is considered an icon of democracy, and was titled by TIME Magazine in 1986 as its 'Woman of the Year'.
A self-proclaimed "plain housewife", Aquino was married to Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr., the staunchest critic of then President Ferdinand Marcos. Senator Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983 upon returning to the Philippines after three years in exile in the United States. After her husband's assassination, Aquino emerged as the leader of the opposition against the Marcos administration. In late 1985, when President Marcos called for a snap election, Aquino ran for president with former senator Salvador Laurel as her vice-presidential running mate. After the elections were held on February 7, 1986, the Batasang Pambansa proclaimed him the winner in the elections, Aquino called for massive civil disobedience protests, declaring herself as having been cheated and as the real winner in the elections. Filipinos enthusiastically heeded her call and rallied behind her. These series of events eventually led to the ousting of Marcos and the installation of Aquino as President of the Philippines on February 25, 1986 through the People Power Revolution.
As President, Aquino oversaw the promulgation of a new constitution, which limited the powers of the presidency and established a bicameral legislature. Her administration gave strong emphasis and concern for civil liberties and human rights, and peace talks with communist insurgents and Muslim secessionists. Aquino's economic policies centered on bringing back economic health and confidence and focused on creating a market-oriented and socially-responsible economy. Aquino's administration also faced a series of coup attempts and destructive natural calamities and disasters until the end of her term in 1992.
Succeeded by Fidel V. Ramos as President in 1992, Aquino returned to private life although she remained active in the public eye, often voicing her views and opinions on the pressing political issues. In 2008, Aquino was diagnosed with colon cancer and, after a one-year battle with the disease, died on August 1, 2009.
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