The 49-year-old candidate said he wants to continue the "people power" pro-democracy movement of his mother, who died Aug. 1 of cancer. She was elected president in 1986, the first woman in the Philippines to hold that post.
It is hoped Aquino's announcement would help the splintered opposition to come together under his leadership, The New York Times reported.
Elections are due in 2010 and current President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo cannot run because of constitutional limitations.
It was the assassination of Aquino's father, Benigno Aquino Jr., in 1983 that thrust Corazon Aquino to take charge of the campaign against the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos.
In announcing his candidacy, the only son of the Aquinos told reporters: "I accept the challenge to lead this nation. I want to make democracy work not just for the rich and well connected but for everybody."
The Times report said there is much rivalry between supporters of Arroyo and Aquino as Corazon Aquino had held demonstrations calling for the former's resignation.
Analysts told the Times the legacy left by his parents should help Aquino against any opponent from Arroyo's party.
Romulo Tuazon with the Center for People Empowerment in Governance said people also want a change in the presidency because of what they see as failure of governance by the current regime.