MANILA, Philippine - The only son of the Philippines' former leader Cory Aquino, the heroine of the 1986 "People Power" revolution who died in August, said late on Saturday he may consider raising taxes if elected only if it was clear the budget gap was not likely to be quickly reduced.
Opposition Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, the frontrunner in opinion surveys and a reluctant candidate, said he had sought divine guidance and consulted political leaders across the country before deciding in September to accept the plea of the nation to continue his parents' fight for clean government.
Here are key facts about Aquino:
- Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III was born in Manila on Feb. 8, 1960, to Corazon and Benigno Aquino Jr. His father, a senator who staunchly opposed the rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos, was assassinated when he returned home from political exile in 1983. The killing shocked the nation and helped propel Marcos out of office in the 1986 "People Power" revolution. Corazon Aquino ruled as president from 1986 until 1992.
- A graduate of economics from the Ateneo de Manila University, Benigno Aquino was a three-term member of the House of Representatives, from the Tarlac constituency north of Manila. He was a congressman from 1998 to 2007.
- In 2007, he was elected to the Senate for a six-year term. He belongs to the Liberal Party of the Philippines and has been an opponent of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo since 2005, when his mother and party colleagues called on her to step down due to allegations of poll fraud.
"I had no ambitions to run in the 2010 elections but I responded to the people's clamor. I am but the face of what we believe is the overwhelming demand of our people to repudiate everything wrong in this administration," Aquino said in his speech last month before the local business community.
- In 1987, during an attempted military coup when his mother was in office, Aquino was shot by rogue soldiers outside the Malacañang Palace in Manila. Three of his bodyguards were killed and he sustained five bullet wounds. One bullet is still embedded in his neck. He said in a Reuters interview in September he could fall victim to poll fraud in the May elections or even be assassinated.
- Aquino is single, but has dated several television personalities and is currently seeing a local politician 20 years his junior. He says he is a music and movie buff, and is a shooting and billiards enthusiast. He has four sisters, including popular television host and actress Kris Aquino, whose support is considered a crucial plus for his campaign.