Aquino to Duterte: Reflect on your message about Ninoy
MANILA, Philippines – Former president Benigno Aquino III thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for his "good words" for former senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr and urged him to reflect on his own statement.
In a speech before supporters, Aquino said Duterte should keep in mind his very own message released for Ninoy Aquino Day on Monday, August 21, which highlight people's rights. (READ: Duterte urges Filipinos to reflect on lessons from Ninoy Aquino)
"Kami'y nagpapasalamat sa magandang sinabi sa aking ama. Siguro pakiusap ko lang baka puwedeng paminsan-minsan babasahin po niya ulit ito dahil galing naman ho sa kanya 'yung mga salita, at dito nga baka maalala natin saan tayo nanggaling," Aquino said.
(We thank him for his good words for our father. But maybe my request is for him to read his statement every now and then because those words came from him, and maybe through that, we might recall lessons from our past.)
The former president, his sisters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Pinky Aquino-Abellada, Viel Aquino-Dee, and Kris Aquino were all at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City to remember their father. More than a hundred supporters, mostly clad in yellow, joined the family as well.
Vice President Leni Robredo was among those present during the Mass. Also there were Liberal Party (LP) president Senator Francis Pangilinan, LP senators Franklin Drilon and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, and minority Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Aquino's former Cabinet members also attended the event, such as Teresita Deles, Manuel Roxas II, Florencio Abad, Ramon Jimenez, Kim Henares, Cesar Purisima, Voltaire Gazmin, and Corazon Soliman.
Ninoy Aquino was assassinated on August 21, 1983 at the Manila International Airport (now the Ninoy Aquino International Airport) upon arriving from a 3-year self-exile in Boston, Massachusetts. (READ: LOOK BACK: The Aquino assassination)
The former senator was considered as one of the staunchest opponents of then dictator Ferdinand Marcos. His death galvanized the growing opposition and propelled his wife, Corazon "Cory" Aquino, into the limelight. Cory eventually became the Philippines' first female president after Marcos was ousted in the 1986 People Power Revolution. (READ: On Cory's 8th death anniversary, Aquino urges Filipinos to protect democracy)
In a seeming disconnect, Duterte called on Filipinos to reflect on lessons from the life of the slain democracy icon, "especially in these troubling times."
Duterte said the former senator's deeds "taught [Filipinos] that we should always aspire for the common good – even if one must go against the grain – and do what is necessary."
"Through his words of wisdom, let us reflect on his life and realize that, indeed, the Filipino is worth dying for," the President said.
"Up until the very end of his life, he inspired a peaceful revolution that resulted to liberties we enjoy," Duterte added.
These glowing words are in contrast to the President's recent remarks against his predecessor.
Earlier this month, Duterte called his predecessor "gago" (an idiot) for saying that the government's bloody drug war is ineffective. To prove the war on drugs is effective, Duterte said that if former president Aquino himself got caught up in drug trafficking, he would be beheaded.
Duterte is also close to the Marcos family, and in 2016, ordered the burial of the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. (READ: Duterte on Marcos burial: Let history judge, I followed law) – Rappler.com