Aquino's son to run for Philippines presidency

The son of former Philippine President Aquino said he would run for president, putting him among the front-runners for next May's election.

Aquino's son to run for Philippines presidency


The son of former Philippine President Cory Aquino, heroine of the 1986 "People Power" movement, said on Wednesday he would run for president, putting him among the front-runners for next May's election.

Benigno Aquino, 49, said on Wednesday that he would run seek to continue the work of his mother who led the "people power" revolution that ended Ferdinand Marcos's 20-year reign.

"I accept the plea of the nation. I also accept the instructions of my parents," Aquino, who has been lawmaker for 11 years, told a news conference at the same hall where his mother, who died last month, was proclaimed president more than 23 years ago.
"I accept the responsibility to continue the fight for the country."

At least half a dozen other candidates, mostly senators, have said they will contest next year's vote, but analysts say no one has a clear edge. Nominations close in November, Reuters said.

He is set to lead the opposition Liberal party in the May 2010 polls, with Gloria Arroyo, the current president, mandated by the constitution to step down at the end of her six-year term.

A member of parliament for 11 years, "Noynoy", as he is popularly known, will need to unite a fractious opposition.

Focusing on economy, justice system

On Wednesday, Aquino -- an economist by training -- said he would promote the efficient use of government resources and speed up the country's justice system.

Analysts say he has some way to go to translate the respect for his parents into votes, pointing to his less than impressive record as a legislator.

"I think it is a very refreshing announcement," said Peter Wallace, head of Wallace Business Forum consultancy. "It has stimulated this election and put a new dimension to it which I believe we needed.

"On the negative side, he doesn't have a very impressive record in Congress, he has achieved little over his nine years in (the lower chamber of) Congress and two in the Senate. One would be a little concerned that should he become president, would he be an active and effective president?"

In his 11 years as lawmaker, Aquino has given support to key economic and political policies, especially those promoting transparency in government.

However, the unpopularity of current President Arroyo, who opinion polls indicate is the least popular president since Marcos, and general antipathy toward traditional politicians could drive support toward Aquino, analysts say.

Pressure on Noynoy to run has been immense since his mother died last month.

Hundreds of thousands of people poured onto the streets for her funeral -- the biggest crowd seen in the Philippines since the 1986 "People Power" revolution that ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos and swept Cory Aquino to power. Noynoy's father, also Benigno, was a senator who opposed Marcos and was killed when he returned home from political exile in 1983.

Agencies
Last Mod: 09 Eylül 2009, 12:48
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