If there is one thing former President Benigno Aquino III should be remembered with, it is his determination to fight for the Philippine’s rights and sovereignty, Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Thursday.
Hontiveros, an ally of the Aquino administration, said it is imperative that the public remembers him as a “well-respected statesman” who “fought enormous battles for our national sovereignty.”
“His strong stand led to our historic win at The Hague in 2016, leaving behind a legacy of hope and justice for generations to come,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Today is good as any day to remember the legacy of one good person who served as the leader of the country and who really made his six years as our President count,” the senator also said.
Like his parents, the lawmaker said Aquino gave hope and moral courage when the country needed it most.
“His remarkable focus on the hallmarks of democracy and public servce are solid foundations that our leaders can build upon. To honor his legacy is to continue the fight against corruption and reaffirm our fundamental freedoms and human rights,” she said.
“Noy was someone who tried to make the most and the best of everything that is good. I am very proud to call him my President,” Hontiveros stressed.
Following reports of the former president’s death, the Senate’s Philippine flag is flown at half mast to mourn the death of the country’s 15th top government official. Aquino was 61.
Aquino was swept into power in 2010 after the death of his mother, pro-democracy icon Corazon “Cory” Aquino, who was Philippine president from 1986 to 1992. His father, former Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. was assassinated in 1983 upon his return to the country after being a political exile.
It was during the Aquino administration that the Philippines took on the challenge of confronting China, a regional giant, over its maritime dispute in the West Phlippine Sea and filed a case before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Philippines won in the landmark case before Aquino left office in 2016 and was succeeded by then Davao City Mayor and now incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte has since denigrated the historic legal victory of the Philippines against China as he resorted to a pro-Beijing policy, describing “the paper as nothing.”