By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
Former president Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III (Screengrab from RTVM)
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) – Malacañang on Thursday paid tribute to former president Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III who passed away at the age of 61.
In a virtual presser, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque observed a moment of silence for Aquino’s passing.
”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 hailed Aquino for his excellent public service.
“We’re grateful to the former president for his contributions and services to the country,” he said. “Rest in peace, Mr. President.”
Roque also asked the entire nation to offer a prayer for the eternal repose of the former chief executive.
Aquino, also known as PNoy, died at the Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City on Thursday morning, according to reports.
The Aquino family has yet to make an official announcement regarding his passing.
Aquino is the country’s 15th president from 2010 to 2016.
Prior to assuming the presidency, Aquino served as a senator from 2007 to 2010 and as a representative of Tarlac 2nd District from 1998 to 2007.
Current and former government officials also mourned the death of the former president.
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.
“As Commander-in-Chief, he recognized the importance of equipping our military to better respond to the evolving domestic and regional security challenges,” Lorenzana said.
He added the DND is extending their deepest sympathies to the Aquino clan during this difficult time.
Meanwhile, former vice president Jejomar Binay also extended his condolences to the Aquino family.
“Noynoy and I may have had political differences but that will not diminish the many years of friendship between our families. My deepest condolences to the family. Godspeed, Pareng Noy,” he said in a statement.
Binay was among the staunch supporters of the late former president Corazon Aquino, Noynoy’s mother.
It was under the Aquino administration when the Philippines challenged China’s sweeping claims over almost the entire South China Sea (SCS) before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands.
On July 12, 2016, PCA ruled in favor of the Philippines after it invalidated China’s claims over SCS. (with Priam Nepomuceno and Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)