Noynoy Aquino died a heartbroken man, says friend-priest
MANILA, Philippines — It appears that former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino had two heart problems before he passed away, a Jesuit priest who was also his friend said on Friday.
According to Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin SJ, the homilist at Aquino’s requiem Mass at the Church of Gesú in Ateneo de Manila, he exchanged messages with the former president before and after his heart surgery last May.
But aside from his heart ailment, Villarin said that Aquino also pointed to another type of “broken heart” — one that cannot be healed.
“Sabi niya, ‘the heart got enlarged because it was working so hard to remove the fluid because efficiency was down due to the blockage.’ Sumagot ako, ‘Kaya pala, stout-hearted ka, matabang puso. Sige, now the heart can rest, kung makina pa ‘yan, nag-overheat na or kumatok dahil barado ang karburador. Pahinga ka pa at hayaan mong humilom ang puso’,” Villarin said in his homily.
(He said, ‘the heart had enlarged because it had to work so hard to remove fluid because the blockage made it inefficient. ‘ I replied, ‘So by the way, you have a big heart, a large one. All right, rest your heart, if it’s still like an engine, it’s just overheated or knocked due to a clogged carburetor. Take some more time to rest and allow your heart to heal.)
“Akala ko tapos na, sumagot na naman, sumagot siya sa text. Sabi niya ‘’Yong isang klaseng broken heart, hindi kaya dito’,” he added.
(I thought it was over until he replied again, where he responded to the text. His words were, ‘It’s like a broken heart. It can’t be healed here.’)
Villarin believed that Aquino was saying that doctors could not fix his other broken heart problem — a result of disappointment with how things turned out after his term.
The Jesuit priest also revealed that Aquino’s feelings and opinions about the Catholic Church and the justice system remained a secret between him and a few other friends, including former Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.
“May mga hapon na ibinuhos niya sa amin ni Cardinal Chito Tagle ang tampo niya sa Simbahan, pati na sa mga Heswita, ang mga issue niya sa sistema ng katarungan, hindi lamang sa Korte Suprema. Naroon lagi ang tampo sa bagal ng kilos, sa kupad ng pagtakbo ng pag-unlad ng bansa,” Villarin explained.
“Kung broken hearted si Noynoy, alam kong dahil din ito sa hati ang puso ng bayan. Ang dalamhati ng bayan, siya ring dala-dala ng taong ito […] Ang broken heart ng taong ito, nasobrahan din ng broken heart ng taumbayan. Ang broken heart ng bayan ay lalo pang nagagasgasan ng kagaspangan ng kung ano-anong dahas na walang pinagpipitagan. Ang karahasan at pananakot, na panakip-butas lamang sa isang malalim na kahinaan,” he added.
Aquino died on Thursday morning, with his sisters announcing that it was due to renal disease secondary to diabetes. Aquino’s sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada read a statement on Thursday afternoon, confirming that the former president died peacefully in his sleep before he was rushed to the Capitol Medical Center.
Villarin’s homily also revealed that Aquino dealt with cardiovascular problems like blocked vessels and an enlarged heart as early as May — or a month before his demise.
“Two days later, after the angio procedure, I texted him again, I said ‘Pre, kumusta na? Kumusta ka na after your angiogram?’ Sumagot siya, ‘they discovered a blockage between 70 to 80 percent, in a good position for access. Massive relief after, this was the best outcome possible. Thank you for the prayers.’,” Villarin relayed.
“Sumagot ako ‘Ay galing, natanggal ang bara, hinga ng malalim, mabait ang Diyos.’” he added.
While Aquino’s term has earned praises for instituting anti-corruption policies and standing up against China’s intrusion in the West Philippine Sea, it also drew flak for several issues like the slow disaster response after Super Typhoon Yolanda, killing of indigenous people and peasant leaders. The death of 44 Special Action Force troopers during an operation to arrest terrorist bomb-makers.
The outrage at Aquino’s presidency gave way to the election of Rodrigo Duterte, who presented himself to be an anti-thesis of the Liberal Party bet, Aquino’s friend and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
After he stepped down from office, Aquino kept quiet on several issues so that Duterte could go about his duties. Yet, he faced criticisms from Duterte’s supporters, being the target of ridicule and false claims against his administration.
Even with criticisms, Aquino was still showered with tributes from home and abroad – from both allies and opponents.
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