A few days ago, family and friends of the late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III gathered together to hear mass at President Noynoy’s resting place in Manila Memorial Park in remembrance of his passing on June 24, 2021.
Fr. Flavie Villanueva celebrated the Holy Mass. In his message, the priest said, “May we never grow impatient in the ways of democracy and never be passive in its defense.” This is a good reminder for all of us that we must continue the work of protecting our freedoms.
Kiko Aquino Dee, a nephew of the late president, also delivered a moving message after the mass. In it, he said, “Maybe Tito Noy was inspiring not because he was martyred for the country or because he defeated a dictator but because he was imperfect… but despite his imperfections, he spent every day of his working life to move just a little bit closer to the impossible dream of a perfect nation.”
On PNoy’s social media page on Facebook, there was a small campaign this June to remember the late President and the work that he did for the nation. Anecdotes about how he never grabbed undue credit for himself and always saw to it that the right people were recognized, how he volunteered to help his own staff member carry huge and heavy bundles of paper, and how he made time in his jam-packed schedule to meet with the media, Filipino overseas workers, and various Pinoy communities abroad.
PNoy was ordinary and imperfect, but these same qualities endeared him to his staff and the Filipinos. People could relate to him, and they admired his integrity and industry. It was a fact that he left for the next administration a huge fund of P3 trillion, the biggest amount ever to be turned over by an outgoing president to the next in line in the history of the Philippines. He built the country’s economy, earning for the Philippines a high investment grade and the labels, “Rising Tiger of Asia” and “Asia’s Bright Spot.” Under his term, we received high credit ratings from international anti-corruption review agencies and the admiration of the whole world, as well, because of this. PNoy’s administration also managed to set the highest tax collection record and for the first time in our local finance history, the Philippines was able to reach a trillion pesos in tax collections.
Dee ended his message by asking, “Who can’t relate with the struggle of doing our part despite our imperfections? Sometimes, all it takes is just one more drop of blood, one more drop of sweat, or one more drop of tears to make the country we love just a little bit more perfect.”