Philippines President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino waves to the audience after delivering his inaugural speech at Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Wednesday. Image Credit: AFP

Manila: Former senator Benigno ‘Noynoy' Aquino was yesterday sworn in as the 15th President of the Philippines amid expectations that he will prosecute the corrupt government officials through a new investigation commission.

Aquino drew applause when he said during his speech that "Today marks the end of a president who remained indifferent to the cries of the whole nation."

Urging government officials and fellow Filipinos to cooperate, Aquino said tax and customs collectors should avoid accepting bribes and help raise government revenues, adding that tax evasion deprives the government of 150 billion pesos (Dh12.5 billion) a year.

The amount could "fund education [and other government services]", said Aquino, who argued earlier that recovery of losses through tax evasion could be done with "people power".


"Let's continue looking after other people's welfare. Let us revive the spirit of people-power which we did during the campaign period," said Aquino.

In exchange, he promised to be a true leader, saying: "I will try to be a good example. I will not squander the trust that you gave me. This will be the advocacy of my cabinet members."

Aquino and former president Gloria Arroyo rode the presidential car to the Quirino grandstand at Manila's Luneta Park for the oath-taking ceremony. Arroyo left in a different car after the ceremony

At his first cabinet meeting, Aquino called for the implementation of a presidential order dated 1972, which banned ordinary citizens from using electronic devices used by government officials, the military, police and ambulances.

Fostering change

In his speech at his inauguration, Aquino said: "Have you been suffering from heavy traffic, mindless drivers, and kings of the road with emergency horns? Are you tired of a government that one has to keep forgiving? I am also like you."

A total of 180 dignitaries attended the inauguration. Aquino hosted a dinner for them at the presidential palace. Sources said he served cheap wine at the event to save money.

Later, Aquino danced at a street party held for his supporters at the Quezon Memorial park in Quezon City. Some 500,000 attended Aquino's oath-taking at a seaside park in the capital Manila, police said.

He is the son of Senator Benigno Aquino who was assassinated by military escorts at the service stairway that brought him back to Manila in 1983. A people-backed military mutiny ousted former dictator Marcos and propped Aquino's mother Corazon to the presidency in 1986.

She claimed the mastermind in the killing of was Ferdinand Marcos. The former strongman was accused of stashing alleged ill-gotten wealth, estimated at $35 billion.