MANILA, Philippines – Senators on Thursday expressed their condolences on the passing of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
Aquino passed away this morning for still undisclosed reasons. He was 61.
“No matter what political side you’re on, when a former president passes away, the country mourns,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in a message to reporters.
“His death diminishes us all. Sincerest condolences from the Senate and my family,” he added.
Senator Grace Poe also paid tribute to the late former president.
“Sa nagbukas ng pinto ng serbisyo publiko para sa atin, maraming salamat sa iyong legasiya ng pagsisilbi nang buong katapatan at dedikasyon. Ipinakita sa atin ni PNoy ang kahalagahan ng mabuting kalooban sa isang pinuno: walang pag-iimbot sa kapwa, malinis ang intensyon, at walang pagkagahaman sa kapangyarihan,” Poe said in a statement.
“Pinapahalagahan namin ang iyong matapat na paglilingkod, PNoy,” she added.
Senator Sonny Angara likewise honored Noynoy’s legacy as he expressed his sympathies to the Aquino family.
“Rest well knowing that in time your own legacy will be remembered as it should be, from a perspective that is objective. You have earned your place in the annals of Philippine history. May the Lord bring comfort to PNoy’s siblings and rest of the Aquino clan,” he said.
Senator Manny Pacquiao also remembered Aquino’s programs during his term as president.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Former President Benigno Aquino III. His love for the country was manifested in his term of service where he championed the ‘Daang Matuwid’ and the ‘Kayo ang Boss Ko,’” he said.
“We are sending our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to the beloved family of the former president. His legacy will be remembered,” he added.
Senator Joel Villanueva, who served as director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) during the Aquino administration, expressed sadness over the passing of his friend.
“The nation lost a leader, and I, a friend. But he was more than that. He was a mentor, a brother to me,” Villanueva said in a statement.
“If I was Tesdaman, he was the TESDA Godfather. He believed in the great talents of our youth, waiting to be unlocked if given good training, right breaks, and inspiring success stories. By ordering that they be trained, he invested in their dreams,” he said.
Villanueva remembered Aquino as “a simple man, plain Citizen Noy,” after his stint in Malacañang, and “a compassionate tito, never missing the perks and the powers he once wielded.”
“When the passion of the present had died down, a fair assessment of his administration will bear the truth of great achievements, brave decisions and moral leadership,” he said.
“We now commit him to the embrace of our Lord, and his life and works to history’s kind judgement,” he added.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who served as Aquino’s rehabilitation czar in areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda, said Noynoy served his country “very well with humility, honor, and integrity.”
“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.
“As our country’s leader, he did not deserve to be unappreciated. He served his country very well with humility, honor and integrity,” he added. “Even as President, he always managed to promptly respond to my messages, no matter how casual and trivial.”
Prior to winning the presidency, Aquino served in the Senate from 2007 to 2010.
He chaired the Senate Committee on Local Government in the 14th Congress and was also vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.