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After PNoy's Death, What's Next for the Aquino Name in Politics?

Will Kris Aquino rise?
by Arianne Merez
Jun 25, 2021
Photo/s: Official Gazette

Former President Noynoy Aquino died in June and his sisters are sending him off -- mission accomplished -- to be with their late parents.

Noynoy is the only son of former President Cory Aquino and former senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino. He is also their only child to join politics. The 61-year-old died a bachelor and had no children.

With no one from the family to carry the Aquino name, what is the future of one of the most prominent families in Philippine politics? One that produced two presidents.

The younger former president, PNoy to his supporters, is survived by his sisters -- Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, and Kris. Of the four, youngest child Kris is the most visible in the public eye and during her heyday was the self-proclaimed Queen of All Media.

With social media abuzz over a possible election debut for Kris following Noynoy's death, it wouldn't be a surprise to see her following in her brother's footsteps. Kris had raised the possibility before but said she was not yet ready. But that was before her brother died.

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"I wouldn't be surprised if she runs in the elections next year. As to what post, it's still too early to tell but she's the most likely one to take on the political mantle," political analyst Ramon Casiple told reportr.

Should Kris forego entering politics due to health reasons, her endorsement of a candidate would be of value, he added. A likely candidate is their cousin, former Sen. Bam Aquino who lost his reelection bid in 2019--a year dominated by Duterte's allies.

"What's clear is that someone has to continue the family legacy. Someone has to take on the political mantle, not necessarily run for president but be present," Casiple said.


Aquinos and deaths

Jerome Ascaño
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If history will be the basis, the Aquinos have always come out politically stronger after deaths in the family.

Starting with the 1983 assassination of Ninoy that fueled public clamor to end the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the Aquinos have earned their place in Philippine history with their storied legacy.

Ninoy's assassination catapulted his wife Cory to the presidency--the first woman to hold the post in the Philippines, and in turn, her death in 2009 propelled their only son Noynoy to Malacañang.

"Historically, the Aquino family always becomes stronger politically whenever they lose one," Casiple said, noting that the support is a mix of public sympathy and adoration for the storied legacy of the family.

Like in the 2010 elections, Noynoy's death is also expected to impact the 2022 polls. But the extent of the influence remains to be seen since it's still "too early to tell" with political parties yet to announce concrete plans, Casiple said.

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What can be seen now is that the opposition will benefit from the publicity of Noynoy's death but as to whether it's enough to propel their candidates to victory is still unsure, Casiple said since President Rodrigo Duterte continues to command wide support.

"For sure, one will rise to the occasion like Noynoy did when their mother died," Casiple said.

Democracy icons

Jerome Ascaño
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With barely a year left before the elections and with the opposition decimated in the 2019 midterm elections, the Liberal Party is still scrambling to choose who will go against President Duterte's anointed one.

Eyes are on Vice President Leni Robredo, the most likely candidate of the opposition for the presidency, but has yet to decide on calls for her to run. In one way or the other, Casiple said Robredo could benefit from Noynoy's death since it could trigger renewed public support after years of being demonized for being "dilawan."

After all, as Casiple pointed out, if the Aquinos mean anything to the Filipino people, it could be summed up in one word: democracy.

It's the family's "greatest legacy," Casiple said, noting that "no one can deny that their family stood up for democracy" and that "their family is a symbol of democracy."

"History is witness to that. You can’t deny that from their anti-Marcos struggle, they really stood for democracy," he said.

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"As a family, it’s their greatest legacy, and the Filipinos know that."


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