Manila: Benigno Aquino III, sworn in on Wednesday
as the Philippines` 15th president, promised to prosecute the
corrupt and banish poverty as he urged Filipinos to help him
in a job he likened to a biblical burden.
The son of two Philippine democracy icons, Aquino, 50,
succeeds Gloria Macapagal Arroyo whose stormy nine-rule was
rocked by four failed coup attempts and allegations of
corruption, vote-rigging and human rights abuses, which she
Some 5,00,000 attended Aquino`s oath-taking at a seaside
park in the capital Manila, police said. Aquino aimed his
speech at the many Filipinos exasperated at the Southeast
Asian country`s enduring problems, that also include
decades-long Islamic and communist insurgencies.
"This day marks the end of a leadership that has long
been insensitive to the suffering of the people ... and this
is the beginning of my own Calvary," Aquino said, referring to
"But if many of us bear the cross, we will lift it, no
matter how heavy."
Aquino, called "Noynoy" by his supporters, was a low-key
legislator until he swept to a landslide win in May 10
elections - buoyed by his illustrious family name, his
anti-corruption platform and Filipinos` longing for moral and
"He signifies change and hope," said businesswoman
Marivic Roy, who joined the crowds at the inauguration,
accompanied by her husband and two sons.
"That`s why people gravitate toward him. We feel there is
hope for this country."
Aquino`s parents were revered for their opposition to the
late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who was ousted by a 1986
"people power" revolt - a defining moment in the Philippines`
Marcos, who had ruled for two decades, was succeeded by
Aquino`s popular mother, Corazon Aquino. She died last year,
prompting a mass outpouring of sympathy that turned into a
groundswell of support for her son.
Diplomats from more than 80 countries and two former
Philippine presidents - Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada -
attended today`s ceremonies. East Timor President Jose Ramos
Horta, a longtime supporter of the Aquino family, was among
the foreign dignitaries.
The nationally televised event resembled a grand concert
with celebrity singers and an orchestra belting out patriotic
music and folk songs. Yellow confetti - the signature color of
Corazon Aquino in the people power uprising - rained from two
helicopters. Vice President Jejomar Binay was sworn in before
Aquino took his oath.