Philippines set for change

2010-06-09 10:29
Manila - Benigno Aquino will on Wednesday be proclaimed the next president of the Philippines after he achieved one of the most emphatic election wins in the Southeast Asian nation's history.

Aquino crushed his rivals in last month's election after promising to tackle the massive corruption and pervasive poverty that have long afflicted the sprawling archipelago of more than 90 million people.

The 50-year-old bachelor also drew on the enormous public support for his democracy hero parents, who remain revered for their efforts in ending the 20-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

Aquino secured just over 15.2 million votes, or nearly 42% of the total number cast, according to final results released by parliament on Tuesday following the May 10 election.

Former president Joseph Estrada finished well behind in second place with nearly 9.5 million votes.

A joint session of parliament is due to convene at 06:00 GMT to formally ratify the results and proclaim Aquino the Philippines' 15th president.

Leaders seen uniting

He will begin his six years in office on June 30, taking over from the unpopular Gloria Arroyo, who is required by constitutional term limits to step down.

Reflecting the Philippines' chaotic brand of democracy, legislators said that Wednesday's proclamation proceedings could drag on for hours, with members of parliament allowed to voice their opinions.

However parliamentary leaders said they expected all sides of the political spectrum to eventually unite in backing the proclamation.

"I don't think anybody is going to stand up and question the quorum and spoil the party of the president-elect and vice president-elect," Senate majority leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said on ABS-CBN television.

"It is now time to heal the wounds of the election. It is time to move forward."

Ironically, Estrada had the record for the biggest win in recent Philippine political history when he triumphed in the 1998 elections with 39% of the total votes.

Dramatic political story

He was ousted three years later, just half-way through his term, amid allegations of corruption for which he was later convicted.

But although his re-election bid failed, it offered the 73-year-old some form of personal redemption.
For Aquino, victory is another chapter in his family's dramatic political story.

His father, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, was shot dead in 1983 at Manila airport as he returned from US exile to lead the democracy movement against Marcos.

His mother, Corazon Aquino, took over from her martyred husband and led the "People Power" revolution that eventually toppled Marcos in 1986. She then served as president for six years.

Her death from cancer last August triggered a massive outpouring of support for the family that turned the son from a low-key politician to presidential frontrunner.

Team player

But his Liberal Party will be hamstrung in its efforts to implement reforms after its choice for the vice presidency, Mar Roxas, lost.

Estrada's running mate, Jejomar Binay, won the vice presidential contest and could potentially be a destabilising force for Aquino.

However Binay insisted on Wednesday he would be a positive influence in government.

"I am a team player and I am willing to work with the president. Whatever is asked of me (I will do)," Binay told AFP.

The Liberal Party will also not have a majority in either house of parliament.

Arroyo's Lakas Kampi CMD coalition will remain powerful in parliament, and the outgoing president won a seat in the lower house, where she could lead opposition to Aquino.

Read more on:    gloria arroyo  |  benigno aquino  |  philippines


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24


Autobraking: See just how good they are!

Just how good are automatic brakes on cars these days? Two VW models have been praised by top UK research centre Thatcham. Find out why...


Stay safe

Pro's and con's of accredited driver-training
Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
Need a family ride? SA's top Mommy Cars
Mom's driving-school dream come true

There is a tendency to idealise and prepare for the future rather than face the present. Right now life is putting challenges more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.