Benigno Aquino III sworn in as Philippine President

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 23:33

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
denied.
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
Christ`s crucifixion.

"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
political renewal.
"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`
political history.

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.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 - 23:33

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