Former President Aquino in good spirits as he spends 61st birthday at home

Published February 8, 2021, 3:15 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

It’s former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s 61st birthday on Monday, Feb. 8.

Aquino, who championed the “Daang Matuwid” and “Kayo ang Boss Ko” slogans during his administration, spent his birthday at home away from public eye. The former leader reportedly appeared in good spirits as he received birthday greetings from family and friends.

Former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III
(OFFICIAL GAZETTE WEBSITE / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The son of the pro-democracy icons the late President Corazon Aquino and Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. was born in Manila on Feb. 8, 1960. Aquino served as the country’s 15th president from June 2010 to June 2016.  

Ever since he left Malacañang, Aquino has been spending a relatively quiet retirement from politics. The former leader, who is unmarried, returned to living at the renovated family residence along Times Street in Quezon City. He reportedly has more time for his hobbies, such as reading books, listening to music, and going to the shooting range.

In the past few years, Aquino made rare public appearances, including attending historic occasions related to his parents. There were occasional public statements, including instances when Aquino’s name was dragged in the cases related to the Dengvaxia controversy and the Mamasapano tragedy. 

Aquino’s health condition was put on spotlight in December 2019. He was confined at a Makati hospital for a week to undergo scheduled medical checkup.   Former deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte dispelled speculations that the former President was seriously ill, saying his condition was not critical. She also relayed Aquino’s thanks to those who sent prayers and well-wishes.

Under Aquino’s watch, the Philippines enjoyed an economic boom, becoming “Asia’s new darling” from being the “Sick Man of Asia.” It registered an average growth of 6.2 percent amid robust foreign investments, stable credit ratings, and tourism growth. Aquino also sought to boost investments in social services as the government struggled to ensure economic growth trickled down to the country’s poor.

Among the highlights of the Aquino administration were the signing of the landmark peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as well as intensified anti-corruption efforts, bringing to jail those involved in the pork barrel scam.

The country also scored a landmark arbitration award in the South China Sea dispute with China during Aquino’s term.

Aquino faced his first major crisis when several Hong Kong tourists were killed in a bus hostage-taking incident in Manila in August 2010. He went to face other controversies, from the allegedly slow relief and rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda in November 2013, to the bungled police operation that led to the death of 44 Special Action Force troopers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in January 2015.

In 2016, Aquino endorsed then Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas to succeed him. Roxas, the Liberal Party presidential candidate, lost to then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the presidential elections. 

 
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