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Home » Benigno S. Aquino III, Former President of the Philippines, Is Dead at 61

Benigno S. Aquino III, Former President of the Philippines, Is Dead at 61

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Benigno S. Aquino III, a former president of the Philippines and scion to the country’s most prominent pro-democracy political family, died in Manila on Thursday. He was 61.

His death was confirmed in a statement from Manuel Roxas II, a former minister of the interior whose family has long been associated with the Aquinos. The cause of his death was not immediately known; local news reports said that he had been admitted to a hospital.

Mr. Aquino served as president from 2010 to 2016, riding a wave of support after the death of his mother, Corazon Aquino, in 2009. Mrs. Aquino, a former president, and her husband, the slain Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr., were leaders of the 1986 People Power Revolution that ended the two-decade dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos.

The younger Mr. Aquino, popularly known as Noynoy and PNoy, was celebrated early in his administration for stabilizing the country’s faltering economy and pushing through a reproductive rights law that made contraception more readily available to the poor — a move that had long been opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, in a devoutly Catholic country.

But his term was marred by accusations of inaction and graft. In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which killed 6,000 Filipinos, many accused the president of being too slow to respond to the crisis. Some Western nations, including Canada, cited the Aquino administration’s lack of immediacy in their decisions to sidestep the government and donate money and aid directly to nongovernmental organizations instead.

It was the deaths of 44 police commandos in a 2015 clash with Muslim rebels that ultimately ended his presidency. The botched raid to capture a Muslim insurgent in the southern town of Mamasapano was, at the time, the deadliest day for the country’s police force in modern history.

In 2017, the country’s anti-graft prosecutor said Mr. Aquino should be held accountable for the officers’ deaths for allowing a suspended national police chief, accused of corruption, to oversee the operation.

Mr. Aquino was succeeded in 2016 by Rodrigo Duterte, a populist president whose policies have included a bloody war of drugs.

Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III was born on Feb. 8, 1960. He never married and had no children.


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