The 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines, Benigno Simeon Aquino III, has come to stand for Filipinos’ reinvigorated passion to build a nation of justice, peace, and inclusive progress.
Aquino – the only son of democracy icons Senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino and President Corazon Aquino – has in different junctures throughout his life responded to the challenge of acting with and serving the Filipino people.
In May 2007, he ran for Senator and won, placing 6th in the national elections. He chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government, and is also the vice-chairperson of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights. He had been determined to ensure that his key legislative initiatives would bear fruit and to see them through until the end of his term.
However, fate had other plans for him. The passing of his mother, former President Cory Aquino, stirred a long-dormant yearning for good leadership. Filipinos from all walks of life, here and abroad, began to look at Noynoy as the new hope for a better Philippines. The groundswell calling for him to run for President became too loud to ignore, and eventually overcame his reluctance.
In the Senate, Aquino worked to make sure that accountability processes in the government were at work. He spent long hours examining the General Appropriations Act of 2009, and proposed key amendments to make sure that public funds were prudently spent. Aquino vigorously participated in Senate investigations on the abuses of government officials, and fought for justice for victims of human rights violations.
Aquino, then chairperson of the Senate Committee on Local Government, introduced substantial amendments to the Cooperative Code to make it more responsive to the needs of the people for which the code was enacted. Among his proposed measures were: Senate Bill 2035, which seeks to raise standards in the construction of all public infrastructures by penalizing contractors of defective infrastructures; and Senate Bill 2160, which seeks the amendment of Government Procurement Act. Although Aquino was elected president before these bills were passed into law, his efforts to make sure that government acts to bring about fairer outcomes for all Filipinos continue today.