PNoy's 1st death anniversary commemorated

Maria Elena "Balsy" Aquino-Cruz, eldest sister of former President Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III, on Friday reiterated her late brother's message to the Filipino people to keep their faith amid challenging times.

In her speech during the commemoration of Aquino's 1st death anniversary at the Church of Gesu in Ateneo de Manila University, Balsy asked her brother's supporters to believe, just like Aquino did, "that the Filipino is really worth fighting for."

She also said the Filipinos would indeed rise "up to the occasion, that God has a good plan for all of us, and this will take place in his time."

Balsy's message came after saying there were times her family felt like they were "a deadly virus, worse than Covid." She said, late President Cory Aquino and his brother, who also became a Philippine president, "bore the brunt of that."

"Our family story has been compared to a rollercoaster. Many times, we have had lots of highs, and probably an equal number of lows. Our highs would be comparable to yours, but our lows were really extraordinary," she said.

Aquino's family, former classmates, former Cabinet members, and friends gathered for the mass.

In his homily, Fr. Jett Villarin said if Aquino were still alive today, "we wouldn't be talking about love."

"We would be talking about random things first until we become serious and talk about the country," he said.

"Matters of state first before matters of the heart," he added.

Villarin then hoped that the Filipinos would be able to answer God as well as themselves.

On June 24, 2021, Aquino, 61, succumbed to renal disease secondary to diabetes. His cremated remains were brought to the Church of Gesu for public viewing before he was laid to rest at the Manila Memorial Park.