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Filipinos took to social media to grieve the death of former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who died on Thursday, June 24, at the age of 61.
Aquino, son of former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and former president Corazon Aquino, was elected president in 2010. He had been suffering from various illnesses since 2019.
“RIP PNoy” topped Twitter Philippines’ trending list early Thursday morning, shortly after the news broke.
Filipinos paid their last respects to Aquino by highlighting the key legacies of his presidency.
The Philippines was crowned the fastest growing economy in Asia with a 6.9% growth rate in the first quarter of 2016, his final year as president. Aquino was also the Philippine president who brought China to court over disputes involving the West Philippine Sea.
Aquino also revived the peace process in Mindanao when his administration signed a preliminary peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2012. This opened the door for the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao during the Duterte administration. (RELATED: Bangsamoro recalls the risk Aquino took for peace)
Other Filipinos emphasized his term “wasn’t perfect,” and that looking back at Aquino’s legacy also entails “remembering even the sins of the dead.”
Under Aquino’s term, at least 50 people were injured and three were killed in the 2016 Kidapawan clash, where farmers demanded government assistance amid the recent drought. Farmers also protested delays in land distribution under the Aquino administration, as many were still tending to the wounds caused by the infamous massacre in the family-owned Hacienda Luisita.
Filipinos have also criticized his administration’s slow response to the damage caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, as well as its handling of the 2015 Mamasapano clash, which led to a decline in Aquino’s public opinion ratings.
Aquino was also indicted in 2018 for usurpation of legislative powers in relation to the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2014.
Netizens also said his death may prove consequential given the upcoming 2022 national and local elections, similar to how the death of Cory Aquino paved the way for her son’s victory in the 2010 elections. Other users also hoped that allies would not use his death for any kind of political gain.
Here’s what other Filipinos had to say:
A number of Filipinos also emphasized that, while Aquino left behind a complicated legacy, netizens should not gloat over or celebrate his death.
On Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also urged Filipinos to show respect towards the Aquino family.
“Isa sa talagang kaugalian natin ay nakikiramay ’pag mayroon pong namatayan sa pamilya…. Igalang po ang kaugalian natin dahil alam ’nyo naman po nangyayari ’yan sa lahat ng [Pilipino] at alam natin gaano kasakit ang pangyayaring ito,” he said.
(One of our common traits is we mourn when someone in the family dies…. Let’s be respectful because we know this happens to all Filipinos, and we know how painful these events can be.)