‘He fought a good fight’: Senate pays tribute to Noynoy Aquino
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate formally expressed its sympathies and condolences on the passing of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
The upper chamber adopted Senate Resolution No. 760, which takes into consideration several resolutions paying tribute to the late statesman.
Congress was on break when Aquino passed away last June 24. The former president died in his sleep due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.
“Going over all these legacies he left, all I can say is, indeed, he had fought a good fight – all of these, for his beloved country and the Filipino people,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.
Sotto recalled how Aquino initially did not want to be involved in politics.
“Imposing upon himself the promise to stay away from politics, he worked in different private entities,” the Senate leader said.
“He tried to evade the call of politics, but his destiny had its way to bring him to the highest post of the land,” he added.
However, the “persistent appeal” of the people of the 2nd District of Tarlac made Aquino “break his promise,” according to Sotto.
Aquino ran and won as a congressman in 1998. He went on to represent his district in the lower chamber until 2007.
After three full terms in the House of Representatives, Aquino won a seat in the Senate where he pursued his anti-corruption advocacy – which eventually became the “battle cry” of his presidential campaign in 2010, Sotto noted.
“But it did not remain to be just his slogan, when former Senator Noynoy Aquino won as President, his administration centered and anchored all its programs on his fight against corruption – making it his brand of leadership,” Sotto said.
In recalling Aquino’s legacy, Sotto as well as Senator Francis Pangilinan pointed to the case the country filed before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague in 2013 that challenged China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea.
In 2016, the PCA ruled in favor of the Philippines.
“One of his (Aquino) greatest battles perhaps is when he stood against China in his efforts to protect the country’s territorial claims. He was firm and decisive in bringing the matter for arbitration and he will always be remembered for that,” Sotto said.
Senator Joel Villanueva, who worked under the Aquino Cabinet, described Aquino as a “transformational leader” and the “nation’s hero.”
For his part, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon remembered the former president as a leader who “served his country well with all honesty, sincerity and the purest of intention.”
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