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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

RIP, PNoy

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"May the angels carry him to the bosom of the Almighty."

 

We join the nation in prayers for the eternal repose of the soul of former President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III. Although there have been intimations of his demise for some time after he stepped down from office in 2016, we had always hoped he would be able to overcome the many ailments he was rumoured to have. 

His passing leaves a deep void in the hearts of many who have somehow journeyed with their family through the twists and turns of their clan’s storied life. As the second member of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan to hold the highest office in the land, he had the heavy responsibility to carry on a legacy which can be best described as colorful albeit checkered.     

PNoy (short for President Noy) as he wanted to be addressed somehow suffered in the shadow of his parents even before he got to Malacanang. While his father was considered the “enfant terible” of Philippine politics, a daring and charismatic politician who was expected to be on top of the pole in due time, and his mother the embodiment of poise and collective calm, his stint in public life was considered by many as uneventful. In fact, his election to the presidency was degraded as “necropolitics” as he rode the wave of sympathy for the death of his mother as the country was preparing for the 2016 presidential elections. Nonetheless, he was able to finish his term quite creditably despite the many challenges and, as his critics were wont to insist, fumbles he did along the way.

In any event, this is not the time for reckoning and critique of his time in office. This is a time for mourning and keeping the peace.

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In that regard, I am giving space to the tribute of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin who was considered close to the family specially to the late President Cory Aquino but not so with PNoy. His statement somehow summarizes what many of those who knew PNoy and those who lived and witnessed life during his term.    

“I am out of Twitter from grief, Locsin said, over the death of a sea green incorruptible, brave under armed attack, wounded in crossfire, indifferent to power and its trappings, and ruled our country with puzzling coldness but only because he hid his feelings so well it was thought he had none; it was and his siblings raised by a great woman – their mother and of our restored democracy (without her none in power yesterday and today would be). She created the democratic space that made it possible. She believed that one must never let oneself go no matter the occasion or provocation; showing feelings was vulgar which I too believe but am guilty of. It is a hard ethic. Blood always shows. I beg his sisters to allow me the honor to share their grief. He wasn’t fond of me but I could bring myself not to admire him.”

For me, PNoy’s death marks a passage in the country’s history and should serve as a calming pause in our political life. But more than that it is a marker in the cycle of life best summarized in Ecclesiastes 3 which I am quoting in its entirety hereunder:   

“There is a time for everything,”¨  and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,”¨   a time to plant and a time to uproot,”¨ a time to kill and a time to heal,”¨    a time to tear down and a time to build,”¨  a time to weep and a time to laugh,”¨  a time to mourn and a time to dance,”¨  a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,”¨  a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,”¨   a time to search and a time to give up,”¨   a time to keep and a time to throw away,”¨  a time to tear and a time to mend,”¨  a time to be silent and a time to speak,”¨  a time to love and a time to hate,”¨   a time for war and a time for peace.

May the angels carry PNoy to the bosom of the Almighty.

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