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08/01/2010

One year ago: Corazon Aquino

August 1, 2010 |  6:32 am

Aquino Corazon Aquino was the charismatic president of the Philippines who drove dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos from power in 1986, leading to the restoration of democracy in the country.

In what she called her greatest achievement, Aquino presided over free elections, appointed an independent judiciary, encouraged a free press and restored other democratic institutions gutted by Marcos during his 20-year authoritarian rule.

Aquino, who served as president for six years, died a year ago at age 76. She left a mixed legacy despite her high profile and popularity when she took power. Her government was beset by seven bloody coup attempts, threatened by Muslim secessionists and debilitated by a series of government scandals.

She also appeared jinxed by a series of natural disasters that included a deadly earthquake, one of the century's worst volcanic eruptions at Mt. Pinatubo, floods, typhoons and a drought.

In her final State of the Nation address in July 1991, Aquino seemed to speak more to her failures than to her successes.

"God knows, we have made mistakes," she said. "I hope that history will judge me ... favorably ... because, as God is my witness, I honestly did the best I could."

For more on the woman who restored democracy to the Philippines, read Corazon Aquino's obituary by The Times.

-- Michael Farr

Photo: Corazon Aquino in her signature yellow.

Credit: Associated Press

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