Noynoy Aquino seeks Philippines Presidency

After weeks of speculation, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III finally announced on Wednesday that he will run for president in 2010 to “continue the fight” for democratic reforms started by his politically influential parents. This announcement is what many Pinoys have been waiting for especially at a time when the country is faced with controversy and political unrest.

From The New York Times:

September 10, 2009
Aquino’s Son to Seek Philippines Presidency
By CARLOS H. CONDE

MANILA — Benigno Aquino III, the only son of the late president Corazon Aquino, announced Wednesday that he would run for president of the Philippines in next year’s elections.

His declaration ended weeks of speculation fueled by the withdrawal from the race of another popular politician, Mar Roxas, whose allies hope that the fractious political opposition will unite behind Mr. Aquino, 49.

Mr. Aquino, widely known by his nickname, Noynoy, will hope to capitalize on the popularity of his mother, the architect of the “people power” pro-democracy movement.

Mrs. Aquino died Aug. 1 at age 76. More than 100,000 Filipinos marched through the rain during her funeral — a display of reverence matched only by the funeral of her husband, Mr. Aquino’s father, Benigno Aquino Jr., who was assassinated in 1983 upon his return from the United States to challenge the dictatorship of Ferdinand E. Marcos.

“I accept the wish of the people,” Mr. Aquino said at a press conference here Wednesday. “I accept the challenge to lead this nation. I want to make democracy work not just for the rich and well connected but for everybody.”

A former congressman and an incumbent senator, Mr. Aquino has largely stayed out of the limelight. Lacking a natural flair as a public speaker, Mr. Aquino has yet to approach the popularity of his mother. His legislative accomplishments have been unremarkable as well.

Mr. Aquino’s declaration has come as the current president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, faces the end of her term next year. Some of Mrs. Arroyo’s allies tried in vain to muster support to allow her to run again through an amendment to the Constitution, which was adopted during Mrs. Aquino’s presidency in 1987. Mrs. Aquino had led demonstrations calling for Mrs. Arroyo’s resignation, and the bitterness between the political rivals remained strong enough this summer that the current president did not attend her predecessor’s funeral Mass.

Analysts say Mr. Aquino should benefit from the legacy of his parents regardless of whom he faces from Mrs. Arroyo’s party next May.

“Most of the goodwill or sympathy generated by former President Corazon Aquino’s death comes from the urban middle and upper classes, mainly based in Manila and some cities,” said Romulo Tuazon, a political analyst at the nonprofit Center for People Empowerment in Governance.

“They want a change in the Arroyo presidency mainly because of corruption and failure of governance. They are encouraged by the entry of Noynoy in the presidential race, hoping that the name he carries is translatable into winnable votes.”

Indeed, in the past week, Mr. Aquino has done several things that tend to remind Filipinos that he is his mother’s son. He now uses yellow as his signature color; he flashes the “L” sign, for laban, or fight; and his news conference Wednesday was held at the same venue where his mother took her first oath of office.

Like his mother did in 1986, Mr. Aquino went on a retreat with Catholic nuns in order to contemplate his future. He also asked Filipinos to gather at least 1 million signatures in a petition urging him to run — a suggestion that was soon forgotten — and his friends have launched a “peso for Aquino” campaign to finance his candidacy.

The challenge for Mr. Aquino, analysts say, is to do more.

He faces “the formidable challenge of broadening the outpouring of sympathy from the small upper-middle classes to the masses, where the votes really count,” Mr. Tuazon said.

Aside from facing the powerful machinery of the governing party, Mr. Aquino also will have to contend with at least two other opposition candidates who have said they plan to run in the elections.

At least four other opposition hopefuls have withdrawn and said they would support Mr. Aquino.

For more coverage on Noynoy’s announcement to seek Philippine Presidency please visit GMANews.

Update:
I apologize for the misspelling of Noynoy Aquino’s name (spelled Nonoy), I was in a bit of a hurry to post this after being excited to hear good news for once that comes out of Philippines.

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