Agapito Aquino is one of the founders of ATOM (August Twenty-One Movement), the first group that made up the People Power masses in 1986. Aquino called on his ATOM co-activists to march to, and support the anti-Marcos military mutineers in, Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame even before Jaime Cardinal Sin, the Archbishop of Manila at the time, made his call to the people.

Aquino is also the brother of the martyred Ninoy Aquino. When Ninoy died, Butz Aquino sought justice for his brother and continued fighting for what his brother had died for. This resulted in the establishment of ATOM and Bandila (flag, in its literal translation; the organization however stands for Bansang Nagkakaisa sa Diwa at Layunin or Country United in Thought and Goal).

Aquino eventually ran for and won a seat in the Senate, where he championed his cause for cooperatives as a solution to widespread poverty. As senator, Aquino authored several landmark pieces of legislation including the Magna Carta for Small Farmers, the Seed Act and the Cooperative Code of the Philippines.

Towards the end of Joseph Estrada’s presidency, Aquino chose to remain with him and defy the stand of the majority of his kin to join the so called second EDSA revolution.