Robredo on Aquino: 'He tried to do what was right' even if unpopular

Vice President Leni Robredo said she was "heartbroken" upon learning about the death of former president Benigno Aquino III, and paid tribute to his legacy as a chief executive.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Thursday, June 24, Robredo said: "Nakakadurog ng puso ang balitang wala na si PNoy. Mabuti siyang kaibigan at tapat na Pangulo (I am heartbroken by the news that PNoy is gone. He was a good friend and an honest president.)

"He tried to do what was right, even when it was not popular. Tahimik at walang pagod siyang nagtrabaho para makatulong sa marami. (He quietly and tirelessly worked to help the greater number of Filipinos.) He will be missed. Nakikiramay ako sa kanyang pamilya (I condole with his family)," added the Liberal Party (LP) chairperson.

One of Aquino's unpopular decisions was to veto the House bill that provides for a P2,000-hike in the monthly pension of Social Security System (SSS) members, citing its  "dire financial consequences" or a "substantial negative income" for SSS that would affect its members in the future. He did this in the last few months of his presidency, ahead of the 2016 elections.

A little over an hour after her Twitter post, Robredo released a video message on her official Facebook page. She said she would never forget how Aquino stood by her after she lost her husband, then-interior secretary Jesse Robredo, in a plane crash in 2012.

The Vice President also recalled Aquino saying that the Filipino was not just "worth dying for" as his father had memorably said, but that the Filipino was "worth living for."

"Dagdag ko naman po (I would like to add now), the Filipino is definitely worth fighting for," Robredo said.

She added: "He was a man of both kindness and toughness, and PNoy was, first and foremost, a man of integrity and honor, a man who always put the welfare of the people front and center. No amount of historical distortion can change the truth."

The Aquino administration was marked by the "Daang Matuwid (Straight Path)" anti-corruption campaign.

Then-LP chairman Aquino has endorsed the tandem of Mar Roxas and Robredo to lead the party in the 2019 elections.

Aquino isolated himself from politics under the Duterte administration, despite sustained verbal assaults and disinformation campaigns against his legacy.

Aquino made statements on rare political flareups, including in 2019, when he questioned President Rodrigo Duterte's distrust of Robredo. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.

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