Aquino's last week in office
MANILA, Philippines – Outgoing President Benigno Aquino III spent his last week in Malacañang bidding farewell to the people who helped him in the past 6 years of his administration – his Cabinet, his alma mater, and members of the police and military, among others.
Aquino, in recent events, was more relaxed than usual – natural for someone ready to leave the world he had been accustomed to and return to his private life. (READ: The emotional journey of Benigno Aquino III)
On Thursday, June 23, exactly a week before he steps down, Aquino attended the 118th founding anniversary of the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Health. In his speech before DFA officials, Aquino said he could not help but smile, knowing he is leaving the Palace in 7 days. (READ: A week before stepping down, Aquino says he's 'all smiles')
“Nakangiti po ako dahil 7 araw na lang po bababa na ako sa puwesto,” Aquino said, eliciting laughter from the audience.
(I am smiling now because in 7 days, I will be stepping down from office.)
In the late afternoon, Aquino took the chance to formally thank his Cabinet. He conferred presidential awards on some of his men, saying they are leaving office with "heads held high."
The following day, Friday, June 24, there were no presidential schedules sent to the media.
On Saturday, June 25, Aquino was the commencement speaker at his alma mater, Ateneo De Manila University. In 2011, barely a year in office, Aquino also delivered a speech before graduating students of Ateneo.
In his speech, Aquino recalled his own college experiences, which happened during martial law. He then thanked the school for supporting him and his administration. Special mention was given to Ateneo’s strong statement against revisionism of martial law.
On Monday, June 27, Aquino addressed the Armed Forces of the Philippines one last time as its commander-in-chief.
The President, who was awarded full military honors, thanked the men and women who served under the defense department and the military, particularly those who worked closest to him. He mentioned in particular Voltaire Gazmin, Aquino’s first and only defense chief, who had initially agreed to only one or at most, two years in the post.
Before this, Aquino conferred the Order of Lakandula – one of the highest honors given by the Philippine government – on Supreme Court Associate Justice Ben Caguioa, his long-time friend, in the Private Office. He then had a shooting of a video message for outgoing Philippine National Police chief Ricardo Marquez.
On Monday, June 28, Aquino attended the retirement and testimonial parade for Marquez at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Aquino had nothing but good words for Marquez, who, prior to his appointment, was a stranger to the President. (READ: Aquino admits 'regret' as Marquez exits PNP early)
Aquino, who will be stepping down from office on June 30, said: “Kaya sa totoo lang, isa siya sa mga pinuno na ngayong magwawakas na ang termino, ay talaga namang may halo tayong panghihinayang. Mayroon po kasing mga pinunong kapag nagpapaalam na sa serbisyo, gusto nating sabihin, ‘Hay, sa wakas, magreretiro na.’ Pero sa pagtatapos ng pamumuno ng isang Ric Marquez, tiyak kong marami ang makakaramdam ng: ‘Sayang naman, sana mas matagal pa siya sa serbisyo.’”
(So to be honest, there’s a mix of regret now that he’s about to end his term. You see, there are leaders who, when they say goodbye, you want to say, ‘Finally, he’s retiring.’ But now that Ric Marquez’ term is ending, I’m sure a lot feel: ‘What a shame, if only he could stay on longer.’)
On Tuesday, June 29, Aquino had no public schedule. But in a set of photos sent to the media, Aquino was seen attending to his last paper works as head of the nation. (IN PHOTOS: President Aquino's last day in Malacañang)
He was also seen bringing some of his things to the Aquino family home in Times Street, Quezon City, on Tuesday, another unannounced schedule.
Aquino is set to return to private life on the noon of Thursday, June 30. After the departure honors for him in Malacañang, he is expected to ride his private vehicle and go straight to Times Street. – Rappler.com
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