Former Philippine President Aquino III dies
According to Philippine media reports, the country’s former President Aquino III died in a hospital in the capital Manila on June 24 (Thursday) at the age of 61.
Aquino III was born in a well-loved political family in the region. His mother, Corazon Aquino, was the first female president of the Philippines. He quickly announced his candidacy for president after the death of his mother and was elected with high votes in 2010. During his tenure, he cracked down on corruption and achieved results, and the economic development of the Philippines also performed well.
However, Aquino III’s presidential career has been shrouded in multiple crises. The government has been criticized for its ineffective handling, including the Manila hostage incident that caused the deaths of 8 tourists from Hong Kong, China, the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, and the loss of a large number of police officers. The violation of power by China, and the farce of “South China Sea Arbitration” that challenged China.
Portrait of Aquino III and his late mother Source: Visual China
Born in 1960, Aquino III is the third among five children and has four sisters. He is not married and does not have any children. As an economics graduate, Aquino III worked in the family’s sugar company before entering politics.
In the process of promoting the development of democracy in the Philippines, his senator’s father with the same name was assassinated when he returned from exile in the United States at Manila International Airport in 1983; his mother, Corazon Aquino, was originally from Fujian, China, and became the Philippines in 1986. The president is also the first female president in Asia, and she completed impressive political reforms during her tenure.
During his mother’s tenure, the young Aquino III experienced a critical moment of life and death. He was seriously injured by a shooting in an attempted coup in 1987. Considering that the operation was too dangerous to remove it, a bullet was embedded in Aquino III’s neck for the rest of his life.
In terms of personal style, Aquino III is known for his easy-going demeanor, often wearing loose shirts and trousers, without concealing his baldness. He is nicknamed “Noynoy” or “Pnoy” by the Filipino people.
In 2009, Corazon Aquino died of cancer, attracting hundreds of thousands of Filipinos to take to the streets to mourn. A few weeks later, Aquino III, who had been elected to the Senate, announced his candidacy for president, claiming to be responding to the call of the people to continue his mother’s political legacy. Under the promise of fighting corruption and poverty, Aquino III won with a greater advantage.
Aquino III, who became president, showed himself as a corruption fighter and filed criminal proceedings against his predecessor, Arroyo, and other officials suspected of tax evasion. He was also recognized for promoting the rapid economic growth of the Philippines over a period of time. During the 2010-2016 tenure, the average annual growth rate of the Philippine economy exceeded 6%, the highest level since the 1970s.
However, in the face of the impact of a series of crises, the performance of the Aquino III government was unable to convince the public.
In August 2010, a tourist bus carrying tourists from Hong Kong, China was hijacked by a former policeman in downtown Manila. However, due to the slow response of the government and the poor rescue of the police, this global simultaneous live broadcast caused the tragedy of 8 Hong Kong tourists killed and 6 injured. It was not until three years later that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the Philippine government issued a joint announcement on the hostage incident before the Philippine government formally apologized to the victims and their families.
In 2013, Haiyan, the most powerful typhoon on record at the time, ravaged the central Philippines, killing more than 6,000 people and destroying a large number of towns and villages. The government of Aquino III was once again criticized for the delayed rescue.
During his presidency, the relationship between the Philippines and China has experienced more turbulence. In January 2013, the Philippine government unilaterally initiated arbitration on the disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. As part of the interim South China Sea Arbitration Tribunal, some services were “outsourced” to the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In 2016, the Hague International Arbitration Tribunal made a “final ruling” on the South China Sea arbitration case, convicting the Philippines of “winning” and negating the “nine-dash line”.
The former Philippine senator and well-known journalist Francisco Tatad once wrote in the Manila Times that he questioned that the Philippines’ funding for the South China Sea arbitration case has not been made public, and that the South China Sea Arbitration Tribunal “seems to be in the United Nations International Court of Justice”. The Peace Palace in The Hague rented a venue, but it has nothing to do with the International Court of Justice.” The Filipinos also did not realize that only one party (Philippines) was present in the entire arbitration process. “This cannot be considered fair.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded in 2016 that the South China Sea arbitration case was a political farce under the cloak of law from beginning to end; China does not accept or participate in the arbitration, and it is upholding the international rule of law and regional rules in accordance with the law; China is in the South China Sea. Territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests have a solid historical and legal foundation and are not affected by the so-called arbitral tribunal’s rulings. China will continue to work to resolve disputes peacefully through negotiation and consultation and maintain peace and stability in the region.
In January 2015, the FIT police infiltrated the town of Mamasapano in the southern province of Maguindanao and killed the international terrorist Zul Kivli Ben Hale, but was ambushed by militants while retreating, killing 44 people. As Aquino III knew that the former police chief Prisma was suspended for improper use of funds, he still assigned him to lead the counter-terrorism mission. The Office of the Investigator of the Philippine Government filed criminal charges against the retired Aquino III in 2017.
Since the presidency was handed over to the current President Duterte in 2016, Aquino III has rarely appeared in public. According to local media reports, he has been unwell for the past two years and was admitted to the hospital earlier this Thursday. Former cabinet official Rogerio Singson revealed that Aquino III has been undergoing dialysis and is preparing to receive a kidney transplant.