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Benigno Aquino Jr.

Benigno Aquino Jr. (October 27, 1932 - August 21, 1983), more popularly known by his nickname, Ninoy, was a leading opposition politician in the Philippines during the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos. He was assassinated at the Manila International Airport on returning home from exile, and widow Corazon Aquino became the focus of the opposition and eventually replaced Marcos as president.

Born in Concepción in Tarlac province, he became mayor of the town in 1955 at the age of only 22. In the same year he married Corazón. He became governor of Tarlac in 1961, secretary-general of the Liberal Party in 1966, and a senator in 1967. When President Marcos declared martial law in 1972 Aquino was imprisoned on charges of murder and subversion. He was sentenced to death in 1977. This was commuted into exile to allow medical treatment in the United States in 1980.

On August 21, 1983 he returned to the Philippines. Despite the presence of his own security guards and government troops on the tarmac, he was gunned down by Ronaldo Galman, who was immediately shot dead by troops. It was never officially established why Galman had done it, but from the first it was widely assumed Marcos had ordered it.

The assassination thrust his widow Cory into the popular eye, and as head of the opposition coalition she stood for president in 1986, and gained the disputed election when Marcos fled the country.

“The Filipino is worth dying for.” —Ninoy Aquino

In his honor, the Manila International Airport has been renamed as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and his image is printed on the 500-peso bill.

His son, Benigno Aquino III, is a congressman representing a district of Tarlac and his daughter, Kris Aquino, is a popular TV and movie actress.