Former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III died Thursday of renal disease secondary to diabetes. He was 61.
According to his sister, Pinky Abellada, Aquino died peacefully in his sleep at home in Times Street in Quezon City at 6:30 a.m.
He was brought to Capitol Medical Center but efforts to revive him failed, said former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.
Aquino’s remains were transported to Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City, where they were later cremated. He will be buried on Saturday, June 26, his youngest sister Kris Aquino said.
"He could have been lying in state in Malacañang but we respect the fact that we are in the middle of a pandemic,” the youngest of the Aquino sisters said.
Meanwhile, the wake for the former president will be open for public viewing for a day at the Church of the Gesu inside the Ateneo de Manila University — Aquino's alma mater — in Quezon City.
The public viewing will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today (Friday).
Abellada said her brother “had been going in and out of the hospital” even before the pandemic started last year.
Aquino, the only son of the late democracy icons former president Corazon Aquino and her assassinated husband, Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., first entered politics as a House representative for the 2nd district of Tarlac in 1998 and won a Senate seat in 2007.
A latecomer to the presidential race in 2010, Aquino declared his candidacy only after his mother's death from cancer the previous year had plunged the country into mourning, and demonstrated the power of the family name.
As president from 2010 to 2016, Aquino made fighting corruption his mantra, capitalizing on his family's clean reputation, and vowed to reduce the poverty afflicting a third of the population.
He was best known for his “walang wang-wang” promise – literally no more sirens that exemplified VIP entitlement, and his commitment to serve the people: “Kayo ang boss ko.”
Aquino ran and won the presidency on a reform platform with the battle cry “kung walang kurap, walang mahirap” (if there are no corrupt people, there won’t be poor people) and championed the “Daang Matuwid” (straight path) as a guiding post during his administration.
His administration delivered average annual economic growth of over 6 percent, the highest since the 1970s, handing the country investment-grade status even as poverty remained endemic.
Aquino was criticized for his government’s slow response to Typhoon "Yolanda,” which killed more than 6,000 people in 2013, and a botched clandestine operation to capture or kill a Malaysian terrorist that led to the deaths of 44 police commandos in Mamasapano in 2015.
The self-deprecating commander-in-chief who often joked about his love life or the lack of it along with his thinning hair once described the presidency as the “loneliest job.”
“The Presidency is a job that requires faith—faith that you can make a difference; faith in the people who work for you, and in the people you work for; and faith in yourself, and in God, especially during the lonely hours of decision making, when it is your decisions that will decide the future of millions of Filipinos,” he said in a speech in 2012.
His sisters recalled how painful it was to see how their brother, a very private person, chose to remain silent despite the accusations and criticisms thrown against him after his term as president.
"We remembered that we told him that he should speak against the allegations thrown to him, he just simply responded that he could still sleep at night,” Abellada said in Filipino.
“Mission accomplished ka, Noy. Be happy now with Dad and Mom. We love you and we are so blessed to have had the privilege to have had you as our brother. We’ll miss you forever,” she added. with AFP
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