Updated: PNoy laid to rest together with his father and mother

Updated: June 26, 2021, 7:30 A.M.


“Eulogies have been written and spoken and shared, but the best eulogy tribute we can pay to our dear President Noy is to bring back, recover, preserve, safeguard, and never again compromise our dignity as a people and the decency of our leaders as servants, not bosses,” Archbishop Villegas said.

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On the death of Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd

Editor’s note: (Teodoro ‘Ted’ Alcuitas)  The death of former President PNoy Aquino (as he is fondly called) yesterday, June 23, 2021,brings back recollections of how I have been linked to the Aquino name. I have never met any of them – the father Ninoy, or his mother Cory, although I remember vaguely speaking to Ninoy on the phone while he was in Boston to invite him to come to Winnipeg to speak. I also was not able to interview PNoy during his visit to Canada in 2015 but wrote about his trip. My leap of faith begun when Ninoy was assassinated in August 21, 1983. That event was a turning point in my political awakening and the birth of the August Twenty One Movement (ATOM) in Winnipeg, the only organized opposition to the Marcos dictatorship in Canada. Thus begun mine and my family’s involvement with whatever The Aquino’s were up to and including Cory’s run for the presidency. PNoy’s however was different. I was no longer active politically in the affairs of the Philippines but continued to monitor the situation. I know that he pushed for the passing of the Reproductive Health Law despite the concerted opposition by the Catholic Church including a threatened excommunication. Of course, his fight against China on the West China Sea dispute is another significant achievement. Yet, his faults and missteps are better known. But that is how PNoy was – a simple, humble man that never flouted his office and remained humble till the end.

But these words do not capture the following eloquent tribute by Wilfredo Garrido on his Facebook page:

PNoy, a father’s son

By Wilfredo Garrido

He was the luckiest son in the world. With a most loved father, Ninoy, who had such a promising career in politics he held the hopes of a nation in the palm of his hand. 

He led a sheltered life, almost anonymous in the shadow of the giant of a man that was Ninoy. 

He escaped the glare of public attention like his mother Cory who was content to be a housewife, ceding the limelight to Ninoy. 

Then, the lights went out and darkness reigned over the family. Beginning with Ninoy’s imprisonment when he was 12, his assassination when he was 23. It was 14 years of tears and turmoil that mirrored the troubles of the nation. 

Then, fate plucked out his mother from the depths of tragedy to make her president. And Pnoy became her protector and defender, sure that she was going to meet the fate of Ninoy one way or the other. 

When that didn’t happen, when Cory finished her term and healed the wounds of the nation, he became a reluctant politician. For what can you expect of the only son and namesake of Ninoy – he should at least follow his footsteps, even only at the local level. 

Accordingly, he became a congressman of Tarlac for three full terms, then a senator for three years, in which stints he had modest record of legislation; he exhibited none of the drive of someone interested in a higher office. 

Then, Cory died, of natural causes, and suddenly the nation had a belated epiphany of the enormous debt of gratitude it owed to both Ninoy and Cory, and people clamored for him to run for the presidency. 

He won, but then again, we had modest expectations of him, because he was not as driven and as charismatic as Ninoy. But what the hell, coming off the scandals of the Gloria years, and the Erap years before that, nobody could possibly do worse than them, there was nowhere for the country to go but up. 

How wrong we were. How wrong we were in our modest expectations. 

He delivered.  On the economy, from the sick man of Asia to a tiger economy. Rapid, relentless building of infrastructures like there was no tomorrow. On foreign relations, the respect we long craved, including winning a case against China in the world body that invalidated its Nine Dash Line. On the military side, procuring equipment to replace decrepit ones that in some cases dated back to World War II. Above all, a clean government. 

Throughout his six-year term, he spoke to us in layman’s language with easy-going articulation, both in English and Tagalog, more of the latter, shorn of bombast, emotion or lies. 

He retired a wounded man, wounded by the Mamasapano incident, which his detractors used as a club to pound his legacy with, ignoring the greater things he accomplished in the past. 

Then, he just faded away, back into his private life. Even if his record was distorted and disparaged by his successor who was his complete opposite, he showed no bitterness. 

We all should return the dignity that others took away from him by paying him our tribute. Thank you, PNoy, you are a worthy son of your father. And a worthy father of a nation.

How we covered the Aquino era from the diaspora.

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