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Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Cojuangco Aquino III

Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Cojuangco Aquino III (born February 8, 1960) is the only son of former President Corazon Aquino and former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. A graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, he was seriously wounded by rebel soldiers in a failed coup attempt during his mother's presidency. In 1989, he was elected to the House of Representatives as Representative of the 2nd district of Tarlac province in the 11th Congress of the Philippines. In 2007, he was elected to the Senate of the 14th Congress of the Philippines. He is also the brother of TV host and actress Kris Aquino.

Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Cojuangco Aquino III was born on February 8, 1960. He is the third of the of five children of Benigno Aquino, Jr., who was then Vice Governor of Tarlac province, and Corazon Aquino. He has three sisters, Maria Elena ("Ballsy"), Aurora Corazon ("Pinky"), Victoria Eliza ("Viel"), and Kristina Bernadette ("Kris").

Aquino studied in Ateneo de Manila University for his elementary, high school, and college education, graduating in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. After college, he joined his family in Boston in exile. In 1983, shortly after the murder of his father, Noynoy had a short tenure as a member of the Philippine Business for Social Progress. From 1985 to 1986, he was retail sales supervisor and youth promotions assistant for Nike Philippines and later an assistant for advertising and promotion for Mondragon Philippines. In 1986, he joined Intra-Strata Assurance Corp. as vice-president of the family-owned corporation.

On August 28, 1987, eighteen months into the presidency of Aquino's mother, rebel soldiers led by Gregorio Honasan staged an unsuccessful coup attempt, attempting to siege Malacaang Palace. Aquino was two blocks from the palace when he came under fire. Three of his four security escorts were killed, and the last was wounded protecting him. Aquino himself was hit by five bullets, one of which is still embedded in his neck.

From 1986 to 1993, Aquino was vice president and treasurer for Best Security Agency Corporation, a firm owned by his uncle Antolin Oreta. He went to work for the Central Azucarera de Tarlac in 1993, the sugar refinery owned by the Cojuangco clan. He started out as an executive assistant for administration, before becoming field services manager in 1996.

Aquino was a leading member of the Liberal Party. He held the position of Vice Chairman of the Liberal Party, having assumed the post on 17 March 2006. He was previously Secretary General of the party (1999-2002), Vice-President of the Luzon Liberal Party (2002-2004), and Secretary General of the party (2004-16 March 2006). Aquino ess associated with a faction of the Liberal Party which opposed the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, citing alleged human rights violations.

Aquino was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998, representing the 2nd District of Tarlac. He won re-election in 2001 and 2004, and served until 2007. Aquino served on numerous committees as a member of Congress: the Public Order and Security, Transportation and Communications, Agriculture, Banks &and Financial Intermediaries, Peoples Participation, Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, Appropriations, Natural Resources, and Trade and Industry committees (11th Congress), the Civil, Political and Human Rights, Good Government, Public Order and Security, Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy committees (12th Congress), and the Banks and Financial Intermediaries, Energy, Export Promotion, Public Order and Safety committees (13th Congress). Aquino was also Deputy Speaker from November 8, 2004 to February 21, 2006.

Barred by term limits from seeking a fourth term as the Representative for the second district of Tarlac province, Aquino was elected to the Senate in the May 14, 2007 midterm elections under the banner of the Genuine Opposition (GO), a coalition comprising a number of parties, including his own Liberal Party, seeking to curb attempts by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to amend the Constitution.

In his political ads, he was endorsed by younger sister, TV host Kris Aquino, and mother, former President Corazon Aquino. Although a devout Roman Catholic, he was endorsed by one of the largest Protestant churches in the Philippines, the Jesus is Lord. With more than 14.3 million votes, Aquino's tally was the sixth highest of the 37 candidates for the 12 vacant seats elected from the nation at large. He assumed his new office on June 30, 2007.

During the campaign, Aquino reached out to his former enemy, Senator Gregorio Honasan, supporting his application for bail. "I endorse Honasan's request for bail para parehas ang laban. I was hit by bullets from Honasan's men in the neck and hips but that's past now. The principle of my father was, 'Respect the rights even of your enemies.' Ito ang nagpatingkad ng demokrasya. Genuine reconciliation is democracy in action," Aquino told Job Tabada of Cebu Daily News on 5 March 2007. He was referring to the two bloody coup attempts against his mother in 1987 and 1989, in the first of which Aquino was seriously injured.

In the Liberal Party, Aquino held various positions such as Secretary General and Vice President for Luzon.

After the death of President Corazon Aquino, calls for him to run for higher office grew. A group of lawyers and activists formed the NAPM the Noynoy Aquino for President Movement and a nationwide campaign led by the son of the late influential businessman, Chino Roces, began to collect a million signatures in order to persuade Aquino to run for President. On September 1, 2009, in a press conference at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City, Senator Roxas, a leading candidate for the Liberal Party nomination announced his withdrawal in the presidential race and expressed his support for Aquino's candidacy. Sen. Aquino later stood side by side Sen. Roxas, but did not make a public statement at the press conference.

On September 9, 2009, 40 days after the death of his mother, Aquino officially announced his bid for the Presidency in a press conference at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City, which also served as the site of his mother's Presidential Inauguration in February 1986.

While Aquino enjoyed considerable support, those who stand to lose from his victory in the presidential race claimed that this can only be attributed to both his parents' successes and not his own. However, after the death of his mother, his popularity remained strong. In 11 years in government, critics said that Aquino had made not any significant contributions to legislation.

On a similar note, Noynoy's detractors also pointed out that, at almost 50 years old, he had neither a wife nor any children. Aquino had lived with his mother, the former president, until her death, and said if he becomes president, he would choose to live in his modest ancestral home rather than in the presidential palace.

Another issue was Noynoy's stake in his family's 7,500 hectare estate, Hacienda Luisita. His mother, the former president Corazon Aquino, was also criticized on these grounds, especially in failing to push for land redistribution reforms given their alleged conflict of interest. But the stock distribution option was ratified three times by a referanda by the farmer beneficiaries. In 2004, a clash with government troops and farms led to the massacre of 12 picketing farmers and 2 children and the injury of hundreds of other protesters. Aquino's side of the family, which owns a miniscule percentage, have met to deliberate how to turn over the land to farmers fairly while giving the farmers job security at such a timeframe that the farmers will not absorb the land's many debts.

Aquino is a shooting and billiards enthusiast He is also an audiophile, and enjoys listening to jazz, bossa nova, and OPM (Original Pilipino Music). One of Noynoy's favorite Filipino artists is singer/composer Noel Cabangon.



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