President Duterte has offered sympathies over the death of former President Benigno S. Aquino III and expressed appreciation for his service to the Filipino nation.
In this file photo, President-elect Rodrigo Roa Duterte and outgoing President Benigno S. Aquino III meet at the President’s Hall Sala for a courtesy call before the formal inaugural ceremony on June 30, 2016. (Malacañang)
Aquino, the country’s 15th president who spearheaded a relentless “Daang Matuwid” campaign to fight corruption in government, passed away Thursday at the age of 61.
The Philippine flag was flown at half-staff in Malacañang in honor of the late President Aquino.
“We commiserate and condole with the family and loved ones of former President Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III as we extended our condolences on his untimely demise,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during a televised press briefing Thursday, June 24, reading President Duterte’s statement.
“We are grateful for the former President for his contribution and services to the country. We ask our people to offer a prayer for the eternal repose of the former chief executive. Rest in peace, Mr. President,” he added.
Prior to reading the President’s statement, Roque asked for a moment of silence to pray for Aquino. He also remembered Aquino’s simple leadership, anti-corruption campaign, as well as policy against wang-wang (siren).
According to Roque, the late President could be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani but it will be up to the family to decide on the matter.
On alleged online bashing over the former leader’s demise, Roque appealed to the concerned parties to show respect following the death in the Aquino family.
Aquino, son of democracy icons the late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and the late President Corazon Aquino, was the country’s president from 2010 to 2016. He was succeeded by President Rodrigo Duterte who clinched a landslide victory in the 2016 elections.