President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday declared a 10-day period of mourning for former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who passed away on Thursday morning.
The current leader led a grateful nation in grieving the passing of his predecessor, who died just five years after stepping down from office.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1169, which sets Period of National Mourning over the demise of Aquino from June 24, 2021 to July 3, 2021.
"In this regard, the national flag shall be flown at half-mast from sunrise to sunset on all government buildings and installations throughout the Philippines and abroad for a period of ten (10) days," Roque said in a statement.
"Let us continue to pray and pay respects to the former President who gave his best to serve our nation and our people," he added.
"We thank the former President for his service to our country. I hope that my fellow Filipinos will be inspired by his legacy," Duterte said.
"I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Aquino family. Be assured of the government’s assistance in this period of mourning and, above all, please accept the love and the prayers of a grateful nation," he added.
Duterte said he spoke with the Aquino sisters to personally offer his condolences.
"I could hardly find the right words to say the condolences. But every time [I offer condolences, I turn to] Ecclesiastes 3. And the long and short of the message is there is always a time for everything on this planet. So whatever it is, we will always have our appointed time," the President said.
"Let us take this opportunity to unite in prayer and set aside our differences as we pay our respects to a leader who has given his best to serve the Filipino people. His memory and his family's legacy of offering their lives for the cause of democracy will forever remain etched in our hearts," he added.
Various leaders also paid tribute to the former President (see related stories below -- Editors).
In the Palace, presidential spokesman Harry Roque asked for a moment of silence and prayer for Aquino, who died at the age of 61.
“We commiserate and condole with the family and loved ones of former President Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III as we extend our condolences on his untimely demise,” Roque said.
Roque also thanked Aquino for his public service.
“We’re grateful to the former president for his contributions and services to the country,” he said. “Rest in peace, Mr. President.
All national flags in Malacañang were flown at half-staff to mourn the untimely passing of Aquino.
Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday mourned Aquino’s death.
“It was heartbreaking news that PNoy is gone. He was such a good friend and an honest president,” she said.
“He tried to do what was right, even when it was not popular. He worked silently and tirelessly to help many. He will be missed. I condole with his family,” she said.
Senators mourned Aquino’s death as Senate President Vicente Sotto III ordered the flag to be flown at half-staff in the Senate compound.
“No matter what political side you're on, when a former president passes away, the country mourns,” Sotto said.
“His death diminishes us all. Sincerest condolences from the Senate and my family to the family of President Benigno C. Aquino III,” he said.
Lawmakers also crossed party lines at the House of Representatives in expressing their condolences to the Aquino family.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco honored Aquino as “a man who dedicated his service to the country.”
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said news of Aquino’s death was a shock.
“We all grieve for losing him so early — a man of integrity, a Filipino leader who made it his primary mission to institutionalize good governance reforms,” Romualdez said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto described Aquino, the national chairman of the Liberal Party, as a profile of courage and a man of convictions.
“When politics clashed with the principles he held dear, he would choose the latter, even at the expense of friendships and alliances a leader must maintain in order to govern,” Recto said.
“He did not treat his office as a theatre, where he was obliged to make grand gestures to incite his base or distract them from his mistakes,” he added.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said through Aquino’s time as congressman, senator, and eventually president, he was able to balance the weight of being an Aquino—carrying all the history of the name, and all the expectations that came with it—while also carving a path for himself.
“We entered the House of Representatives and the Senate at the same time—in 1998 and 2007, respectively. As his colleague I have always recognized and respected how committed he was as a public servant," Zubiri said.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said in continuing the legacy of his parents, Aquino introduced widespread reforms and espoused a strong anti-corruption policy during his presidency.
Senator Grace Poe said she would treasure the memory of their years together as legislators and members of the opposition.
“For beyond politics and much public acrimony, I knew Noynoy the kind and simple soul. He will be deeply missed,” she said.
Senator Joel Villanueva said the nation lost a leader, while he lost a friend, a mentor and a brother.
Senator Cynthia Villar remembered working with Aquino in the House, where he would always call her “Ma’am Cynthia” as a sign of respect because he said she was like a mother to the new congressmen.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said Aquino “served his country very well with humility, honor and integrity.”
“Even as President, he always managed to promptly respond to my messages, no matter how casual and trivial. It was indeed a privilege to have served with him -- both in the Senate and the Executive Department, but more than that, to be his friend,” Lacson said.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said the late president was a friend as their families were close.
He said Aquino served the Philippines to the best of his ability by pursuing the vision he had for the country.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, an opposition lawmaker, remembered Aquino as a “good man” and considered him as “one of the best things that happened to the country after the 1986 People Power Revolution.”
(See full story online at manilastandard.net)
Senator Leila de Lima said she was in a state of “utter disbelief and indescribable grief” following Aquino’s death.
She said Aquino, a partymare at LP, served with all his heart, not just to continue the legacy of his parents, but to also offer his life to lead the nation on a righteous path.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, president of Aquino’s Liberal Party, said the former president was driven by his desire to serve.
"In any situation, he has only one question: How do we best serve the Filipino people?" he said.
Under Aquino's leadership, Pangilinan said, systemic corruption that had calcified for generations began to be dismantled.
LP vice president and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said he lost a dear friend, and the nation, “a gentleman who served his country well—with all honesty and sincerity and with the purest of intentions.”
In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said his agency joins the country in grieving and mourning Aquino's demise.
"Serving as our country's leader from 2010-2016, President Aquino advocated the strengthening of our defense and security capabilities to support national development," Lorenzana said.
During Aquino's term, Republic Act No. 10349 was enacted to revitalize the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.
The AFP also mourned the death of the former chief executive.
"The soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines, reservists, and civilian human resource of the AFP joins the Filipino nation as it mourns the death of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III," AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.
Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the police force is one with the nation in honoring the former president.
Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso said Aquino championed good governance reforms that promoted efficiency and reduced opportunities for corruption. He said the Philippines was cited as the fastest-growing economy in Asia during his administration.