The late former President Benigno Aquino III refused to get a kidney transplant if the donor is someone from his family or someone young, one of his former Cabinet secretaries said on Monday, June 28.
Former Energy Secretary Rene Almendras said that it was difficult for them to convince Aquino to undergo a kidney transplant when doctors cited the procedure as a viable option for his health recovery.
“Originally, the President didn’t believe in the idea of a transplant. Then eventually, it shifted to yes. He became more open to the transplant. He told me, papayag ako pero may kondisyon (I will agree but with condition),” he said in a CNN Philippines interview.
Aquino reportedly fell ill in the middle of 2019 and had been undergoing dialysis three times a week since last year. His eldest sister, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, revealed in a message she delivered during his wake that her brother was in and out of the hospital even before the pandemic.
The former President died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, June 24, due to renal disease secondary to diabetes. He was 61.
Almendras shared that Aquino told him the condition was that the donor will not be his relative or someone from his family, and it should not be a young person.
“Sabi niya (He said), ‘I still feel bad about somebody sacrificing a portion of his body for me,’” he said.
Aquino told him that the kidney should be from someone who already died and was an organ donor, or “something to that effect.”
“So, the last few months have really been about preparing for the transplant. We actually have donors already screened,” the former Cabinet official noted.
In another interview, he revealed that Aquino asked some former members of his Cabinet to look for a beachfront property where he can recuperate after his operation.
The former President underwent angioplasty in May. According to his personal driver, he missed two dialysis sessions before his death on June 24, because he was feeling weak.
Aquino’s cremains was inurned at the Manila Memorial Park beside the tombs of his parents, democracy icons Corazon “Cory” Aquino and Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
Meanwhile, the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF) said it will hold a nightly online Novena mass for the soul of the country’s former Chief Executive via NCAF’s Facebook page every 6:30 p.m. until Friday, July 2, the ninth day since he passed away.
“Let us celebrate the life of PNoy, his work and advocacy, and our continued love for our democracy and freedom. PNoy would want us to continue to pray together for our country and our people,” Rapa Lopa, NCAF president and executive director, said in a statement.
As the 15th president of the country, Aquino led the Philippines from being the “Sick Man of Asia” to an economy that grew an average of 6.2 percent in the six years he was in office. He took China’s massive claims in the West Philippine Sea to international court, and won the arbitration in 2016 just after he stepped down from office.