Aquino promises justice as Philippines president

Benigno Aquino III, Juan Ponce Enrile, Prospero Nograles AP – ** CORRECTS PHOTOGRAPHER TO UNNAMED STRINGER ** Philippine President-elect Benigno Aquino III, center, …

MANILA, Philippines – Benigno Aquino III was proclaimed president Wednesday and promised justice and action on a host of issues plaguing the Philippines, including poverty and corruption.

"As president, we will be in a position to effect the necessary changes," he said. "With the backing of the people, I don't think anything is impossible."

The Philippine Congress proclaimed Aquino as the nation's 15th president, formalizing the landslide victory of the son of revered democracy icons — Benigno Aquino Jr. and former President Corazon Aquino — in last month's first national automated elections.

The official congressional count, which ended Tuesday, showed Aquino defeating his eight rivals with more than 15 million votes — about 5.7 million ahead of his closest opponent, ousted leader Joseph Estrada.

Aquino, a quiet legislator who served nine years as a congressman and three years as senator, will take his oath June 30.

He will inherit a nation grappling with poverty and debilitated by decades-long Marxist and Muslim insurgencies, military unrest, corruption, violent crime and political strife.

Aquino told reporters he felt "a little anxious, a little eager to start solving the problems that are still besetting our countrymen," and promised justice and "closure on so many issues."

Aquino will succeed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whose nine-year presidency was wracked by four coup attempts by mutinous troops and by opposition impeachment bids over alleged election fraud, corruption and human rights abuses.

There was no immediate comment from Arroyo, who is visiting China.

Her spokesman, Ricardo Saludo, called on Filipinos to rally behind Aquino and said the election "demonstrates that our democracy is vibrant, and our new electoral system is working for our people."

In a statement, he pledged there would be a "smooth and orderly" transition to the new administration.

Aquino has said he will form a commission to investigate allegations of corruption and other wrongdoing during Arroyo's administration. Arroyo has denied all accusations.

In a move to show he is in command, Aquino said he plans to dismiss military chief of staff Gen. Delfin Bangit — who is close to Arroyo and had announced he would not step down when the new president takes office — but would likely retain the national police chief, Jesus Verzosa, who had offered his courtesy resignation.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Arnulfo Burgos said Bangit would obey orders "as a professional soldier."

Aquino, a 50-year-old bachelor, campaigned largely on his family name and promised to follow the legacy of his parents, who are regarded as heroes in the country's struggle against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

It was only after his mother died of cancer last August that he decided to run, spurred by a massive outpouring of national grief for the leader who helped end Marcos' 20-year rule in 1986.

Corazon Aquino inherited the mantle of her husband, an opposition senator gunned down by soldiers at Manila's airport in 1983 upon his return from U.S. exile to challenge Marcos.

Estrada's running mate, Jejomar Binay, the mayor of Manila's financial district, Makati, will become vice president after defeating Aquino's candidate, Manuel Roxas II, in the separate race for the No. 2 position.

The new president is expected to get cooperation from Binay, who was a staunch supporter of Aquino's mother and led soldiers and police in defending her against a coup attempt by rightist military officers.

Aquino received congratulatory messages and pledges of cooperation from British Prime Minister David Cameron, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada.

U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. said he was looking forward to working with the new Philippine government "to advance our common goals."

___

Associated Press writer Jim Gomez contributed to this report.

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159 Comments

  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    5H13T 5T1RR3R Sat Jun 12, 2010 04:47 am PDT Report Abuse
    The first sign of corruption is if this new President starts putting friends, relatives and family members in his cabinet and other Federal & Local government position.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    5H13T 5T1RR3R Sat Jun 12, 2010 04:42 am PDT Report Abuse
    The first sign of corruption is if starts putting friends, relatives and family members in his cabinet.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    julius a Sat Jun 12, 2010 03:35 am PDT Report Abuse
    Let us hope Noy2 will be sincere. But he inherited a real huge debt deficit:$8.7 trillion dollars courtesy of mrs Gloria Arroyo. This former president is the most wily of all past Philippine presidents. From president Marcos,Aquino,Ramos and then Estrada,our national debt did not reach the trillion mark.But when this Gloria sat there in the Palace for nine long years through machinations,backed by her chosen generals,our national debt jumped to almost $9 trillion dollars! What a gift to the Filipino people.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Lewis Fri Jun 11, 2010 06:20 am PDT Report Abuse
    constructive criticism?.. owwww
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    smooch smooch Fri Jun 11, 2010 02:05 am PDT Report Abuse
    I think Noy is a retard.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 1 users disliked this comment
    5H13T 5T1RR3R Fri Jun 11, 2010 02:05 am PDT Report Abuse
    To Edu,

    What I've done? How about you what have you done? At least I'm giving constructive criticism.

    and yes I WORK here in Australia don't know about HARD though. All I know is if I was in the Philippines I will work 10x harder than hard.
    and
    *Not get paid sick leave,
    *Not get bonuses every 3 months,
    *Not get the minimum 4 week fully paid Holiday leave per year,
    *Not get paid paternal leave
    *Not get a company car & petrol card
    *Not get a fully paid home office
    *Not get paid carers leave
    *Not get a Medicare card that pays for all my and my families doctors & Hospital bills
    *Subsidies medicine
    *Family allowances from the government
    Etc, etc.etc.

    and if I lose my job...

    *I get the Unemployment Benefit pay which is better than some of the highest paid jobs in the Philippines.

    You know why that is because the Australian Government and our local Companies can afford all this and more. Because its very well managed and Governed by qualified people. With little or no corruption at all.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    5H13T 5T1RR3R Fri Jun 11, 2010 01:57 am PDT Report Abuse
    To Edu,

    What I've done? How about you what have you done? At least I'm giving constructive criticism.

    and yes I WORK here in Australia don't know about HARD though. All I know is if I was in the Philippines I will work 10x harder than hard.
    and
    *Not get paid sick leave,
    *Not get bonuses every 3 months,
    *Not get the minimum 4 week fully paid Holiday leave per year,
    *Not get paid paternal leave
    *Not get a company car & petrol card
    *Not get a fully paid home office
    *Not get paid carers leave
    *Not get a Medicare card that pays for all my and my families doctors & Hospital bills
    *Subsidies medicine
    *Family allowances from the government
    Etc, etc.etc.

    and if I lose my job...

    *I get the Unemployment Benefit pay which is better than some of the highest paid jobs in the Philippines.

    You know why that is because the Australian Government and our local Companies can afford all this and more. Because its very well managed and Governed by qualified people. With little or no corruption at all.
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Jimmy Fri Jun 11, 2010 01:41 am PDT Report Abuse
    hey my fellow countrymen let it be the positive ways i agree with Panchang810 just stay calm my friend,,,I am so sad also regarding the image and trown a bad words to our country, but no matter what i'm still hoping from worst to a little bit better,those my fellow countrymen in abroad like me, without wishing to return their homeland of because the bad image we have counted, but its our own option,,,, for me no other place like a home!!!!!!!! We're on abroad i think we are the part of parable "those in the last days no need to return home to take your coat" GOD speed Philippines.....
  • 2 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 2 users disliked this comment
    5H13T 5T1RR3R Thu Jun 10, 2010 11:19 pm PDT Report Abuse
    If Justin Bieber was a Filipino, he might even be offered a cabinet seat. LMFAO!!!

    This is so true Hahaha!!!

    Majority of Filipino's votes with their Hearts not their Head. Thats why The Philippines is going down the drain.

    Keep on voting for movie stars, boxers, singers and you will keep the Philippines on its path to no where.

    VOTE WITH YOUR BRAINS NOT YOUR HEART FILIPINOs !!!
  • 0 users liked this comment Please sign in to rate this comment up. Please sign in to rate this comment down. 0 users disliked this comment
    Alan Thu Jun 10, 2010 09:48 pm PDT Report Abuse
    HES DOOMED FOR A REBBLTION!HES DEAD IN THE WATER!

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