Benigno Aquino III takes oath as Philippines president - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Benigno Aquino III takes oath as Philippines president

Belinda Aquino Belinda Aquino
Roland Casamino Roland Casamino
Benigno Aquino III Benigno Aquino III

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

MANILA (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's a new era. The Philippines officially has a new president.

On Tuesday night in Manila, Benigno Aquino III took the oath to lead the country.

Aquino is like the President Obama of the Philippines.

At 50-years-old, he's relatively young. His critics said he's inexperienced. Yet he won the elections by a landslide on his campaign promise of change.

Sworn-in as the Philippines' 15th president, Benigno "Noy Noy" Aquino vows to elevate the third-world country out of political corruption and poverty.

Even Hawaii's Filipino community is cheering him on.

"I think they like him in many ways. He's not arrogant, he's a very gentle kind of person, he's personable and the name carries him very much," said Belinda Aquino, Ph.D., former Director of Philippine Studies at the University of Hawaii, who is not related to the president.

The new leader is entering the political arena with his family's longtime rival, the Marcos family.

Imelda Marcos won a seat in Congress.

Her daughter Imee is the newly-elected governor in the family's province, Ilocos Norte.

And her brother, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, won his senate race.

Yet even Marcos supporters, like Roland Casamino, are rooting for President Aquino.

"Yes, I favored him to win, I was hoping he would win," said Roland Casamino, a Marcos supporter and active member of Hawaii's Filipino community.

Casamino says local perception is a bit skewed.

"The general community here in Hawaii somehow think that there's still a big feud going on between the Marcos and the Aquino's," he said.

Casamino says that's no longer the case.

"During the death of the former president, Mrs. Aquino, the {Marcos} kids went out to the funeral and they were all shaking hands as if there was no animosity between them," said Casamino.

"If there's any kind of reconciliation it's probably tactical in a sense that, well that they have to sit down and they can't go on forever splitting up in politics," said Aquino.

Whether the family feud will play out in the new administration remains to be seen.

For now, both sides seem to agree that change could be on the way.

"I think this is a time for getting together, for healing," said Aquino.

"It's a sign of hope," said Casamino.

The rivalry dates back to the 80's.

Aquino's parents led the movement to oust Imelda's late husband, then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

The family was exiled to Hawaii in shame, after Marcos was accused of assassinating Aquino's father, Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr.

After he was shot to death, Aquino's widow, Corazon, led the People's Power revolt, which toppled Marcos's 20-year dictatorship.

She then became president, making her the first woman in the Philippines to lead the country.

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