Thirty nine years ago, the future president of the Philippines graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University, just a year after the imposition of Martial Law. As seen from his grade school yearbook ("Chronicle"), Benigno Simeon Aquino III (b. 8 February 1960) seemed like any ordinary kid in the neighbourhood, on the verge of teenhood. Schoolmates remember him as a quiet, introverted boy, but as the son of Marcos’s most formidable opposition, Ninoy, he must have been cautioned to keep a low profile; the Martial Law years were undoubtedly a difficult period for the Aquinos.
As one can see, there is no listing of Noynoy’s school activities—no varsity football, no drama guild, no basketball teams, no membership in any clubs. A quick scan of his school annual revealed the young, eager faces of his batchmates who, today, are familiar names in Philippine society. There’s the late Alfie Anido who died under mysterious circumstances at the height of his fame as a movie star, the future designer Pepito Albert, as well as the future senator, Teofisto Guingona III.
Noynoy would stay on in Ateneo until his college years, earning an Economics degree in 1981 (one of his professors was Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo). He joined his exiled father with the rest of the family in the United States until he came back to the Philippines in 1983, after his father’s assassination. After working in the private sector, he plunged headlong into politics, first as as an elected member of the House of Representatives representing Tarlac in 1998 (re-elected in 2001 and 2004) and as a Senator, elected in 2007.
Following the death of his mother, Cory C. Aquino in 2009, Noynoy heeded the people’s call by joining the presidential race under the Liberal Party. He would go on to become the highest executive of the land, our country’s 15th president in June 2010, trouncing other bets like the popular Erap Estrada, Manny Villar and Gilbert Teodoro, an Aquino relative.