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First Female Filipino President Dies

Corazon Aquino, the first female president of the Philippines, died on Saturday from colon cancer. Aquino installed democracy in the Philippines when her administration replaced the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos after a successful civilian coup. In office she survived seven coup attempts and was the inspiration for nonviolent protests, some of which resulted in the end of communist rule in Eastern Europe.

“She was headstrong and single-minded in one goal, and that was to remove all vestiges of an entrenched dictatorship,” said the former dean of the University of the Philippines Law School, Raul C. Pangalangan, reports USA Today.

Thousands of mourners gathered yesterday for Aquino’s funeral. Her family refused a state funeral because of differences with the government, reports the Washington Post. According to the Guardian, the current president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, described her as a “national treasure.” Arroyo has issued a 10 day national mourning period.

Sources:

The Guardian 8/2/09; The Washington Post 8/1/09, 8/2/09; USA Today 8/1/09