The Senate on Tuesday, July 27, adopted resolutions to express sympathy and condolences on the passing of former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III.
Members of the upper chamber also adjourned their session early after in honor of Aquino, who also served as a senator.
Aquino, the Philippines’ 15th president, died last June 24. He was 61.
Senators, during the plenary session, paid tribute to Aquino by recalling his legacy and contributions to the country.
“Who would not remember his catchphrases, such as ‘Kayo ang boss ko…(You are my boss)’, or ‘Walang wang-wang, walang counterflow’?” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in his sponsorship speech, recalled how Aquino made his anti-corruption advocacy his “brand of leadership”.
“His no ‘wang-wang’ policy says it all. Filipinos are accustomed to the abuse and inequitable application of the law favoring the rich and leaving the poor helpless. But being all too familiar with such doesn’t make it right and acceptable…President Noynoy made sure to get the message across. No one is above the law,” Sotto added.
Senator Joel Villanueva, one of the authors of the Senate resolutions, remembered Aquino as a “great man, transformational leader, and the nation’s hero.” He said he also also considers the former president a friend, brother, and a mentor.
A TESDA director under the Aquino administration, he reminisced fond moments and the lessons he learned from the ex-president.
“Naaalala ko nang matapos ako sa aking talumpati, bumulong siya sa akin at sinabing hindi n’ya gusto ang isang bahagi ng sinabi ko sa mga tech-voc graduates: ‘Sungkitin n’yo ang inyong mga pangarap’. Sabi n’ya, pinaghihirapan daw ang pangarap, hindi sinusungkit lamang (I remember when I ended my speech, he whispered to me and said he disliked a part of what I said to tech-voc graduates: ‘Catch your dreams’. He told me, dreams are not caught, but worked hard for),” he said.
“I knew at that time that he was talking from experience,” he added.
“The misinformation cannot cast doubt on the truth about PNoy. Time will come, a fair assessment of his administration will bear the truth of his great achievements, brave decisions, and moral leadership,” Villanueva said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Aquino’s partymate in the Liberal Party (LP) and former Senate President, meanwhile, enumerated the landmark laws and proograms implemented during the previous administration. He cited the “strong political will of President Aquino and the harmonious relationship between Congress and the executive [department].”
Aquino, Drilon added, laid the foundation for some of the big-ticket infrastructure projects in the country, such as the Skyway Stage 3, NLEX-SLEX connector and the Mactan-Cebu New International Passenger Terminal and the LRT East Extension Project.
Other senators who worked with Aquino — Grace Poe, Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Pia Cayetano, Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Tolentino and Juan Miguel Zubiri — also shared their fond memories of the former Chief Executive.
Aquino was laid to rest last June 26, next to his parents late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. and former Pres. Corazon Aquino at the Manila Memorial Park.