Philippines bids farewell to former president Aquino

Bangkok, Jun 26 (EFE).- The Philippines on Saturday held a state funeral for former president Benigno Aquino, two days after the leader died at the age of 61 due to a renal failure linked to hepatitis, apart from other health issues.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas officiated over the funeral of the leader, underscoring his “dignity” and “decency” in his sermon at the Church of the Gesu inside the Ateneo de Manila University, in the presence of the ex-president’s family and friends.

The urn with the remains of Aquino, a surname closely associated with the Philippine democracy, was carried by a funeral procession to the Manila Memorial park, where he will be buried next to his parents.

Benigno Aquino III, popularly known as “Noynoy,” assumed the presidency of the country in June 2010, for a term of six years, to be the 15th president of the Philippines.

He came to power on the back of popular public support after the 2009 death of his mother, the country’s first president after the restoration of democracy in 1986.

Aquino had admitted that he was an “accidental” president and may have continued to serve as senator if his mother had not died suddenly.

His father and namesake was also a senator and vocal opponent of strongman Ferdinand Marcos, and had been assassinated in 1983 on the tarmac of Manila airport upon his return home from three years in political exile in the United States.

The administration of Benigno, who used Daang Matuwid (“straight and honest path”) to deal with the problems of the archipelago, fought against poverty and widespread corruption.

During his term, the Philippine economy improved notably and confrontations with China over the sovereignty of several islands and atolls located in the South China Sea stood out.

The Aquino administration took the territorial dispute to The Hague, which in 2016, after the transfer of power to the current president, Rodrigo Duterte, ruled in favor of the Philippines.

Aquino had a temperament directly opposite to Duterte, known for his outbursts, using profane language and the war against drugs in which alleged traffickers and addicts have been executed on the streets. EFE



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