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Nation mourns death of ex-Philippine President Noynoy Aquino

25 June 2021

By The SUN 

PNoy is best remembered for the West Philippine Sea victory vs China

Flags are flying at half-mast across the Philippines today, a day after former President Benigno S. Aquino III succumbed to renal failure caused by diabetes at the age of 61.

The former president, who was simply PNoy to most Filipinos, served as the country’s 15th president, from 2010 to 2016. He was single.


His four sisters announced his passing in a statement read hours after he was pronounced dead on arrival at Capitol Medical Centre, where he was rushed from his home in Quezon City.

Pinky Aquino-Abellada, who read the statement on behalf of the Aquino family, said PNoy had been sick for some time, but chose to keep the matter private. Despite this, his death still came as a surprise to them.

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While evidently in grief, the sisters hailed their only brother for serving the Filipino people “with honesty and dignity.”

“Mission accomplished ka, Noy,” said Abellada, reading from their joint statement. “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 will miss you forever, Noy.”


The former president was cremated at the Chapels and Mortuary at Heritage Park in Taguig City after a short service attended only by close members of his family. Following his inurnment, a wake was held at the chapels where various dignitaries came to pay final respects.

A silver urn containing PNoy's ashes are in the chapel where a wake was held overnight

Today, his ashes will be taken at the Church of the Gesu inside the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City where he spent much of his school life. The public viewing will be from 10am to 10pm.

The interment of his ashes is set for Saturday morning at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque City where his parents, former President Cory Aquino and father, former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. are buried.

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According to his sister, actress Kris Aquino, full military honors will be accorded PNoy before the interment. 

PNoy's flag-draped casket was viewed only by family and close friends before the cremation 

Also in line with Philippine law, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered 10 days of mourning for his late predecessor, during which flags at all public offices across the country will remain at half-staff.


PNoy served as a member of Congress and the Senate before public clamor following the death of his mother, President Cory Aquino in 2009, led him to accept the Liberal Party’s nomination as their standard bearer in the 2010 presidential election.

In what was seen as a significant step for Philippine democracy, over 75% of the 51 million registered Filipino voters went to the polls in that election. PNoy, who campaigned on the slogan, “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap,”  won by a wide margin, taking 40% of the vote and defeating strong contenders like ousted President Joseph Estrada and former Senate President Manny Villar.

'Kayo ang boss ko', PNoy told the people at his inauguration

His inaugural speech at the Luneta signaled the start of what he called as the “daang matuwid” (straight path) concept of leadership. In that speech, he told the Filipinos, “kayo ang boss ko,” and promised a leadership where there was no “palakasan” (influence peddling) and no “wang-wang”, indicating the practice by most politicians of using sirens to keep other vehicles away when they’re on the road.

He mainly stood by these principles, but his key achievements were the great strides that the Philippines made on the economic front. With him at the helm, the country attained an annual economic growth of just over 6 percent, the highest since the 1970s. The government also gained investment-grade status, allowing many businesses to gain access to much-needed funds.

Keeping his promise to root out corruption, he had his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrested for corruption, and her then Chief Justice- appointee, Renato Corona, impeached.

But he also had some missteps along the way, including the botched handling by the police of the hostage-taking in Luneta Park in August 2010, which led to eight Hong Kong tourists being killed. He also took flak for the killing in 2015 of 44 SAF (Special Action Forces) members in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by Muslim rebels, during an operation meant to flush out a Malaysian terrorist.

Critics also tried to get him to answer for the supposed anomalous purchase of the Dengvaxia vaccine by the government for its anti-dengue program, but failed to go far with the accusations.

PNoy gamely answered questions at a Senate hearing on the Dengvaxia controversy

But more than any of these, PNoy will probably be remembered for the arbitral ruling in The Hague which upheld the Philippines’ challenge to China’s claims to much of the South China Sea, including parts of the West Philippine Sea. That victory was seen to temper China’s expansionist policies in the sea, parts of which are also claimed by various states.

Referring to the late leader’s propensity for taking on big and mighty rivals, retired Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said, “He was brave. He went after powerful people who did wrong. But he was fair and allowed justice to prevail even to his discredit.”

It was during Morales’ watch that PNoy was indicted over the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP. The then Ombudsman had earlier cleared Aquino, but on appeal by progressive politicians from Bayan Muna, the former president was indicted for usurpation of legislative powers.

Morales also caused Aquino to be issued with his first warrant of arrest for supposed usurpation of official functions by allowing dismissed police chief Alan Purisima to participate in the SAF operation in Mamasapano. But after taking over the post on Morales' retirement, Ombudsman Samuel Martires withdrew the case.

But clearly, Morales was in no way swayed by the thought that the late leader had done something wrong out of avarice or greed. 

“It was a great honor to have served as Ombudsman when he was our President and honesty, integrity and the rule of law guided our government," she said in a final tribute.



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