All the president’s women: Why Benigno Aquino is still a bachelor

All the president’s women: Why Benigno Aquino is still a bachelor

Raissa Robles in Manila

TV host Grace Lee with Philippine President Benigno Aquino in a photo of the then-couple released by Malacanang Palace in 2011. Photo: AP

When the Philippines elected Benigno Aquino president in 2010, many predicted the country’s most eligible bachelor would soon claim his next big prize: A first lady.

It didn’t happen with then girlfriend Shalani Soledad, a local politician he dated for two years. Nor would it be his stylist Liz Uy, television host Grace Lee, or any of the string of other women to whom Aquino has been romantically linked.

When the South China Morning Post asked the 55-year-old Aquino whether he was still hopeful of settling down with someone, he said: “A little less now than I was before.”

“At some point in time, it does become kind of a ridiculous exercise,” he said.

“You know, just to give you an idea, and you make fun of it. My barkada (friends now) have children more or less … in the dating stage.”

Shalani Soledad and Aquino dated for two years. Photo: SCMP Picture

He said three of his friends now have daughters old enough to be dating.

He told his friends: “You know, perhaps, that’s where God is kind to me. They looked at me and said: ‘Why?’”

Aquino said he told them: “You know, by the time I have a daughter who’s gonna … be going out on dates, I’ll probably be senile and won’t understand any of it anymore’. So God has a perfect plan for all of us.”

The state of Aquino’s love life has long been tabloid fodder. One gossip columnist claims to have counted 18 girlfriends – and that was before Aquino even became president.


Lately, he has been linked to 25-year-old Filipino-German beauty queen Pia Wurtzbach, who described the balding bachelor as “very fun to talk to.”

Asked if he still went out on dates, Aquino said coyly: “Secret.”

Former Aquino girlfriend Liz Uy. Photo: SCMP Picture

Aquino said he had his first romance when he was a university student. “I’ve had a lot of serious relationships” starting when he was 18, he said.

But what stops him from popping the question?

Aquino points to a childhood experience seared into his memory. His senator father, after whom he was named, was jailed by the Marcos dictatorship on charges of committing murder and subversion when Aquino was 12.

“There was somebody who was detained in the same facility as my father. And the woman left him [probably saying] ‘I can’t take this anymore. We’ll fend for ourselves and you fend for yourself’,” he said.

“He never got any visitor for a period of five years, apart from those who visited his cellmate. So when you talk about [being abandoned], that guy represents to me what it meant to be abandoned and still stand up to your beliefs.”

He said the story taught him to look for “somebody [who] will stand by you regardless of what or whatever.”

“Ours was not gonna be a simple life. So not just anybody can withstand the pressures of it,” said Aquino, who was 23 when his father was assassinated, 26 when his mother Corazon was pressured into the presidency, 27 when he nearly died himself from gunshot wounds, and 50 when he was catapulted into the presidency after the death of his mother.

As for the president’s taste for younger women, it is because he wants children, he told one TV presenter.

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 April, 2015, 3:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 April, 2015, 4:40pm

#BenignoAquinoWomen   #PiaWurtzbach

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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