The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has sent a heartfelt tribute following the death of former President Benigno S. Aquino III, calling him a “great man, leader and nationalist.”
The department, led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., expressed condolences to Aquino’s family and recognized the former leader’s legacy related to foreign policy and history.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs joins the nation in mourning the passing of former President Benigno S. Aquino III,” the DFA said in a statement.
“During his term as the 15th President of the Philippine Republic, President Aquino elevated the country’s conduct of foreign relations, steered foreign policy towards a principled direction that earned international respect and esteem, and invigorated the foreign service with a collective sense of patriotism, commitment to service, and professionalism,” it said.
Aquino likewise “left a remarkable legacy on our country’s foreign policy and national history,” according to the DFA.
“The Department offers its condolences to the President’s family and friends, and joins the Filipino people in grieving the loss of a great man, leader and nationalist,” the department added.
It was the Aquino administration that filed a case against China’s excessive claims in the South China Sea before the Permanent Court of Arbitration. In July 2016, the arbitration court issued a ruling in favor of the Philippines.
Aquino, who was no longer president then, lauded the landmark ruling as a “victory for all.”