Benigno Aquino III

On Noynoy’s death anniversary, priest reminds public to defend democracy

James Patrick Cruz

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On Noynoy’s death anniversary, priest reminds public to defend democracy

Family, friends and supporters visit the grave of the former president Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque, to commemorate his 2nd year death anniversary on June 24, 2023.


'May we never grow impatient in the ways of democracy and never be passive in its defense,' says Father Flavie Villanueva

MANILA, Philippines – Father Flavie Villanueva reminded the public about its role in safeguarding democracy during a Holy Mass on Saturday, June 24, marking the second death anniversary of the late president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“May we never grow impatient in the ways of democracy and never be passive in its defense,” Villanueva said Saturday, during the religious service held at tomb of the late former president in Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City. Also entombed in the modest Aquino family grave are Noynoy’s parents former president Cory Aquino and slain senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino.

With the death of Noynoy, Villanueva said that the ball is now in the public’s hands. 

“As Ninoy told Pnoy, the ball is in your hands. The same thing Pnoy reminds us: I’ve done my part, my mission is now accomplished. The ball now is in our hands,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva was referencing a letter written by the late senator Ninoy to his only son and namesake. Ninoy wrote the letter in August 1973 when he was still in prison at Fort Bonifacio. 

Ninoy was thrown in jail when martial law was imposed by the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, the father, and namesake of the incumbent president. 

Noynoy died in 2021 at the age of 61 due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.

Noynoy first entered politics as a congressional representative of the 2nd District of Tarlac. After serving the maximum of three consecutive terms, he made a successful bid for the Senate and served as senator from 2007 to 2010.

In 2010, Aquino was elected as the country’s 15th president.

Aquino’s legacy

One of the biggest accomplishments of the Aquino administration is the Philippines’ historic victory over China at The Hague. On January 2013, the Philippines, under Aquino’s term filed an arbitration case against China in a squabble for rights over the West Philippine Sea.

The country won the case in July 2016, in the first month of the Duterte presidency.

Before Noynoy’s term ended in 2016, the Philippines achieved a remarkable milestone by being recognized as the fastest-growing country in Asia, achieving a growth rate of 6.9%.

His anti-corruption drive called “Daang Matuwid (Straight Path)” helped stabilize the Philippine economy. 

Aquino, however, was heavily criticized because of the Mamasapano incident on January 25, 2015, where 44 elite cops were killed in an operation that targeted and neutralized terrorists Abdulbasit Usman and Malaysian bomb maker Zulkifli Abdhir, popularly known as “Marwan.” 

Despite this, his final public grade was “very good,” according to pollster Social Weather Stations. –

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James Patrick Cruz

Patrick Cruz is a researcher and writer for Rappler’s governance cluster. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, he covered local governments focusing on Metro Manila.