Former Philippine president Benigno Aquino III died on Thursday, June 24. He was reported sick in the past days and had to be brought to a hospital in Manila.
The 61-year-old Aquino was the country’s president from 2010 to 2016. He was the son of former senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and former president Corazon Aquino.
Known popularly as “Noynoy,” he rode a wave of public support to the presidency after the 2009 death of his mother.
Aquino’s father and namesake, Benigno Jr., was a staunch opposition leader during the rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos. He was assassinated when he returned home from political exile in 1983.
The killing shocked the nation and helped propel Marcos out of office in the 1986 “People Power” revolution and ushered in the presidency of Aquino’s mother, Corazon.
In a statement, Senator Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator, paid tribute to Aquino for his “kind and simple soul” and said he would be deeply missed.
Aquino still carried a bullet wound from a 1987 attempted military coup against his mother’s administration, during which he was shot five times and three of his bodyguards were killed.
The presidential palace offer condolences to the Aquino family and asked Filipinos to pray.
Vice President Leni Robredo, who ran under the then Aquino-led ruling party when elected in 2016, said it was “heart-breaking” to hear of the former leader’s death.
“He tried to do what was right, even when it was not popular,” she said in a statement. “He worked quietly and tirelessly for the good of everyone. He will be missed.”
Flags were seen flying at half mast outside the Senate building and at the House of Representatives in Manila on Thursday.
Aquino was a member of Congress before he was elected president in 2010. – with a report from Reuters