Reina Louise R. Felonia
Sir Jian Dayuta
Mother of Philippine Democracy
María Corazón Sumulong "Cory" Cojuangco Aquino was born on January 25, 1933, in Paniqui, Tarlac, María Corazón "Cory" Sumulong Cojuangco was the fourth child of José Cojuangco, Sr. and Demetria Sumulong. Her siblings were Pedro, Josephine, Teresita, Jose, Jr. and Maria Paz. Both Aquino's parents came from prominent clans. Her father was a prominent Tarlac businessman and politician, and her great-grandfather, Melecio Cojuangco, was a member of the historic Malolos Congress. Her mother, Demetria, belonged to the Sumulong family of Rizal who were politically influential; Juan Sumulong, a prominent member of the clan, ran against Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon in 1941. As a young girl, she spent her elementary days at St. Scholastica's College in Manila, where she graduated on top of her class and batch as valedictorian. For high school, she transferred toAssumption Convent for her first year of high school. Afterwards, she went to the United States to finish her secondary education. There she continued her college education. She went to theCollege of Mount Saint Vincent in New York City, where she majored in Mathematics and French. During her stay in the United States, Aquino volunteered for the campaign of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey against then Democrat U.S. President Harry S. Truman during the 1948 U.S. Presidential Election. After graduating from college, she returned to the Philippines to study law at the Far Eastern University (owned by the in-laws of her elder sister, Josephine Reyes) for one year. She married Sen.Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., son of the late Speaker Benigno S. Aquino, Sr. and a grandson of General Servillano Aquino. The couple had five children: María Elena (born August 18, 1955), Aurora Corazón (born December 27, 1957), Benigno Simeon III (born February 8, 1960), Victoria Elisa (born October 27, 1961) and Kristina Bernadette (born February 14, 1971). Corazón Aquino had difficulty initially adjusting to provincial life when she and her husband moved to Concepcion, Tarlac in 1955. Aquino found herself bored in Concepcion, and welcomed the opportunity to have dinner with her husband inside the American military facility at nearby Clark Field. A member of the Liberal Party, Aquino's husband Ninoy rose to become the youngest governor in the country and eventually became the youngest senator ever elected in the Senate of the Philippines in 1967. During her husband's political career, Aquino remained a housewife who helped raise their children and played hostess to her spouse's political allies who would frequent their Quezon City home. She would decline to join her husband on stage during campaign rallies, preferring instead to stand at the back of the audience and listen to him. Unknown to many, she voluntarily sold some of her prized inheritance to fund the candidacy of her husband. She led a modest existence in a bungalow in suburban Quezon City. Ninoy Aquino soon emerged as a leading critic of the government of President Ferdinand Marcos. He was then touted as a strong candidate for president to succeed Marcos in the 1973 elections. However, Marcos, being barred by the Constitution to seek a third term, declared martial law on September 21, 1972, and later abolished the existing 1935 Constitution, thereby allowing him to remain in office. As a consequence, her husband was among those to be first arrested at the onset of martial law, later being sentenced to death. During his incarceration, Ninoy sought strength from prayer, attending daily mass and saying the rosary three times a day. As a measure of sacrifice and solidarity with her husband and all other political prisoners, she enjoined her children from attending parties and she also stopped going to the beauty salon or buying new clothes until a priest advised her and her children to instead live as normal lives...
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