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Corazon Aquino Named Time Magazine’s ‘Woman of the Year’

December 27, 1986 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ Philippine President Corazon Aquino has been named Time magazine’s ″Woman of the Year″ for 1986, and she said in an interview that restoring her people’s belief in the government was an important achievement.

But she added, ″I don’t want to say that this is my achievement. It is the Filipino people together who were able to believe in themselves because of what they were able to do in the election and then in the revolution.

″Because of this belief in each other they were now also able to look up to their leaders and follow their leaders,″ she said in an interview with the magazine.

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While her country has not yet achieved unity, she said, ″I am confident we are working toward that end with the coming plebiscite on the constitution.″

Mrs. Aquino, who suceeded Ferdinand Marcos as president in February, is the third woman to occupy the cover alone as person of the year. The others were Queen Elizabeth in 1952 and in 1936, Wallis Simpson, the late American divorcee whom King Edward married after abdicating his throne.

Marcos’ 20-year rule ended Feb. 26 when he fled the country after a popular uprising in which hundreds of thousands of Filipinos surrounded rebel military bases in support of Mrs. Aquino, who had been defeated by Marcos in an election marked by widespread fraud.

Mrs. Aquino was chosen, the magazine said, because she ″managed to lead a revolt and rule a republic without ever relinquishing her buoyant calm or her gift for making politics and humanity companionable,″ the magazine said.

Her revolution ″with a human face was no less a triumph for women the world over″ and it ″held up a candle of hope in some of the world’s darker corners,″ it said.

During an hour-long interview, Mrs. Aquino’s eyes filled with tears when she spoke about her obligations to her country and her memories of her husband, slain opposition leader Benigno Aquino, the magazine said.

It was during her husband’s incarceration that she really began to want to help others, she recalled.

″All of a sudden, with my husband in prison, he was suffering, I was suffering. Yet we knew that others were worse off. We didn’t have to worry about where our next meal was coming from or whether our children could go to school,″ she said. ″So then, I guess, I started to worry about other people. I guess I identified myself with the victims of Marcos’ injustice.″

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When asked if she would run again in six years, Mrs. Aquino laughingly said, ″I think I was needed just for the transition, when people had to find somebody they could believe in, someone not out of the traditional political mold.″

In six years, she added, ″there will be many qualified people, and I will have earned a well-deserved rest.″

Time said that other people it considered for the cover of its year-end issue included Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North because of his role in the Iranian arms deal, and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, as the one likely to lead his country into the next millennium.

Aviator Charles Lindbergh was Time’s first Man of the Year 58 years ago, but the award has gone to a couple, a group, a Machine of the Year (the computer, in 1982), and an entire generation in 1966.

The selection has not always been an accolade. Hitler was named Man of the Year in 1938, Joseph Stalin was chosen in 1939, and the Ayatollah Khomeini was named in 1980.