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Late Philippines President Aquino's Son to Run for Presidency

The son of deceased former Philippine President Corazon Aquino has declared his candidacy for president in next year's polls. The decision comes after strong public clamor for Senator Benigno Aquino III to carry on his mother's democratic legacy.

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino says he is heeding the call of the people to lead their fight.

At Club Filipino in Manila, where his mother Corazon Aquino took the presidential oath in 1986, the senator said he will run for president under the Liberal Party in next year's election.

After the death of the former president last month, politicians and many members of the public have urged Senator Aquino to run for president. They hope he can take advantage of the revival of the spirit of the "people power" movement that his mother led to peacefully oust the authoritarian government of Ferdinand Marcos.

The clamor increased after Senator Mar Roxas, a frontrunner for the presidency in the same party, backed out in favor of Aquino. He has offered the vice presidential slot to Roxas, who also comes from a well-known political family.

The 49-year-old bachelor had been a three-term congressman before joining the Senate. He is the only son of parents who have become icons of democracy in the Philippines. His father and namesake was assassinated in 1983 upon returning from exile.

Tens of thousands lined the streets of Manila last month to bid farewell to Mrs. Aquino. She was a staunch defender of the Philippine Constitution against those who attempted to weaken the country's democratic institutions.

Before her death from cancer, Mrs. Aquino had been at odds with President Gloria Arroyo and her supporters on efforts to change the system of government from presidential to parliamentary. Critics say the proposal would allow Mrs. Arroyo to remain in power after her term expires next year. Senator Aquino's candidacy is seen as aimed to stop such efforts in the future.

It is not clear who will run against Aquino, although former president Joseph Estrada who was ousted in 2001, has hinted he will join the race.

The Philippines holds national elections in May.