ALLIES and supporters of former President Benigno Aquino III held a memorial mass at the Sacred Heart Parish in Cebu City on Monday, June 28, 2021, to thank him for his contribution and services to the country.
Aquino passed away on Thursday, June 24, from renal failure secondary to diabetes. He was 61.
Rev. Fr. Carmelo Diola, who presided over the memorial mass, said Aquino, also popularly known as PNoy, is now having his “deserved rest in the peace of the Lord.”
Aquino was the first bachelor to serve as the country’s chief executive from 2010 to 2016.
Aquino, who was the 15th President of the Philippines, was the third child and only son of democracy icons — the late former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and the late former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino.
“Thank you, Mr. President, for carrying a possibly heavy burden of national leadership that was thrust upon your shoulders,” said Diola during his homily.
The memorial mass was attended by allies of Aquino in Cebu, including Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III, former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña and his wife former councilor Margot Osmeña.
Davide, in his message after the mass, also thanked Aquino for still thinking about the state of the country even after his presidency.
Davide recalled his last conversation with Aquino on Aug. 30, 2020.
At first, he said he was surprised that Aquino called him and they spoke on the phone for around 30 minutes. He said they barely talked in the past, adding that it was the first time they had a phone call that lasted that long.
“Usually, we only talked for five to 10 minutes, even during when he was the President... He sounded a little sad, I guess because of what was happening,” Davide said.
That fact that Aquino was still worried about the country’s condition after he stepped down only showed that he was a true patriot, Davide said.
“He heeded his late father’s advice to live an honorable life and to follow one’s conscience, and he did exactly that when he was in office. He served his country well,” he said.
Osmeña, for his part, said the Aquino family had a great contribution to the country.
Of all the things that Aquino did, Cebuanos should remember him as “the President who gave us the BRT (bus rapid transit).”
He said he felt guilty that he never named a street or even a building after the Aquinos during his stint as mayor.
Human rights advocate lawyer Democrito Barcenas, who also attended the mass, was grateful that the nation had a good leader for six years.
“In one brief shining moment, gihatagan ta’g presidente nga matarong (we were given a good President),” said Barcenas.
Barcenas hopes the country will have another leader like Aquino, someone who is decent and humane.
After the memorial mass, the group lit candles at the Doña Pepang Cemetery in Barangay Tejero, Cebu City. (JJL)