(Update 11:37 a.m.) Several personalities and Filipino online users expressed their sympathy after the passing of former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III on Thursday morning. He was 61 years old.
The former chief executive was rushed to the Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City earlier this morning where he also passed away.
Aquino was the 15th president of the Philippines who took office on June 30, 2010 and ended his term in 2016. He succeeded the nine-year reign of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He is the son of late senator Ninoy Aquino Jr. and late former president Cory Aquino.
The former president is survived by his siblings Kris Aquino, Victoria Elisa Aquino-Dee, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Pinky Aquino-Abellada.
Aquino is known for running the “Daang Matuwid” platform where he vowed to ensure transparency in governance, eradicate corruption and reduce poverty.
However, it was also plagued with the national tragedies such as the Mamasapano clash which cost the lives of 44 Special Action Force police commandos and the perceived failure of response to Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.
Under Aquino’s term, the Philippines bagged its first investment-grade rating.
His administration also launched infrastructure projects under Private-Public Partnerships and launched the the “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign of the Department of Tourism which gave a boost to the country’s economy.
Aside from these, it was under Aquino’s term when the maritime dispute with China was brought to the international court
Prior to his presidency, Aquino served as a senator for six years. He was also a previous representative of Tarlac from 1998 to 2007.
Messages of condolences
Aquino’s friends and supporters then paid tribute to the former president and sent their messages of condolences to his family.
The phrase “RIP Pinoy” and other related names dominated conversations on Twitter.
Jejomar “Jojo” Binay, the vice president under Aquino’s term, set aside their political differences and expressed his deepest condolences to the Aquino family.
“Noynoy and I may have had political differences during the last few years of his term, but that will not diminish the many years of friendship between our families. My deepest condolences to the family. Godspeed, Pareng Noy,” he wrote.
Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, who was the government peace panel chairman during the previous administration, shared in his tribute that he has learned a lot from him before.
“I knew him to be a kind of man, driven by his passion to serve our people, diligent in his duties, and with an avid and consuming curiosity about new knowledge and the world in general,” Leonen said.
“I saw him carry his title with dignity and integrity. It was an honor to have served with him. He will be saved,” he added.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr., on the other hand, announced he would take a leave off from his Twitter activities to grieve over Aquino without directly mentioning his name.
“I’m out of Twitter from grief 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 a puzzling coldness but only because he hid his feelings so well it was thought he had none,” Locsin wrote.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III is also among the officials who condoled with the Aquino family.
“His death diminishes us all. Sincerest condolences from the Senate and my family to the family of President Benigno C. Aquino III,” Sotto said.
Human rights lawyer and former senatorial candidate Chel Diokno likewise mourned the passing of Aquino.
He thanked the former president for being at his late mother’s wake. Diokno’s father, former senator Jose Diokno, and Ninoy were former colleagues at the Senate.
“Salamat at paalam, PNoy. I remember how you stayed for more than an hour at Mom’s wake, reminiscing about our dads’ imprisonment. How, in private moments, you would often talk about our parents, and their detention in Laur. You left us too soon,” Chel wrote in a tweet.
“You served our country well, uplifted the lives of many Filipinos, and gave us a reason to dream of a better future. Rest In Peace and enjoy heavenly bliss, which you richly deserve,” he added.
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Vice President Leni Robredo said she was saddened by the news of Aquino’s passing.
One of her daughters, Tricia, likewise took to Twitter to pay tribute to the former president. She shared a photo of the Robredo siblings with Aquino.
Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said the city government of Davao is one with the nation in praying for the eternal repose of the soul of Aquino.
“The Philippine flag in the entire Davao City shall be flown at half-mast until his burial,” the mayor said.
Reports said the Aquino family requested privacy. —Rosette Adel