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Palace, gov't officials condole with Aquino family over ex-President Noynoy’s death

Malacañang expressed condolences to the family of the late former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who died on Thursday morning.

“A moment of silence and prayer for former President Benigno Aquino III. We condole with the family of the former President over his untimely demise,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“We are grateful for his contribution and services to the country. We ask the people to offer a prayer for the eternal repose of the soul of former Chief Executive. Rest in peace, Mr. President,” Roque added.

DND cites Aquino's contribution in defense, security

For his part, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana acknowledged the contribution of Aquino in strengthening the defense and security capabilities of the Philippines during his post from 2010 to 2016.

Under Aquino’s administration, Lorenzana said Republic Act No. 10349 was enacted to revitalize the modernization program in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“As Commander-in-Chief, he recognized the importance of equipping our military to better respond to the evolving domestic and regional security challenges,” he said in a statement.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the Aquino clan during this difficult time,” he added.

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said the national flag in all military camps will be flown at half mast as a gesture of mourning for the former commander-in-chief.

“As soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines, reservists, and civilian human resource unite with our Kababayans in prayer, the national flag in all military camps will be flown at half mast as a gesture of mourning the demise of a former Chief Executive and once Commander-in-Chief of the AFP,” he said.

Philippine National Police chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar also cited the contribution of Aquino in pushing reforms and improving police operations.

“As our former Commander-In-Chief, he played a key role in instituting reforms and improving the operational capability of the national police force to better serve the Filipino people and maintain peace and order in the country,” he said.

'Kayo ang boss ko'

In a tweet, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) extended its condolences to the family and loved ones of the former president.

“His words—‘kayo ang boss ko’—will always be a continuing reminder that our government must, above all, be of service to the people,” the CHR said.

“Let us remember his contributions to the country by continuously working on improving the plight of the nation’s least, last, and lost,” it added.



Sea-green incorruptible, brave, and indifferent to power

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., meanwhile, hailed Aquino's brand of public service as he sent his condolences to the sisters of the former state leader.

"I’m out of Twitter from grief over the death of a sea-green incorruptible, brave under armed attack, wounded in crossfire, indifferent to power and its trappings," said Locsin, who once served as press secretary and speechwriter of Aquino's mother, former President Corazon Aquino.

"I beg his sisters to allow me the honor to share their grief. He wasn’t fond of me but I could not bring myself not to admire him."

Aquino, according to Locsin, "ruled our country with a puzzling coldness but only because he hid his feelings so well it was thought he had none."

"It was the way he and his siblings were raised by a great woman—their mother and of our restored democracy (without her none in power yesterday and today would be). She created the democratic space that made it possible," Locsin said.

"She believed that one must never let oneself go no matter the occasion or provocation; showing feelings was vulgar which I too believe but am guilty of. It is a hard ethic. Blood always shows."

Biggest decision

In 2012, Aquino initiated a successful international arbitration case that denigrated China's massive claim over the resource-rich South China Sea.

“One of former President Aquino's biggest decisions was to confront China in an international tribunal over the issue of the West Philippine Sea. Only history will judge if it was his greatest decision,” said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who served as deputy executive secretary in the final years of the Aquino administration.

Running a country like the Philippines with “enormous social, economic, and political challenges is a colossal task,” Guevarra said.

“Anyone who accepts this awesome responsibility, like the late President Benigno Aquino III, deserves our utmost respect, admiration, and gratitude,” he added.

Reproductive health care services, rights

Juan Antonio Perez III, chief of Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), lauded the passage of Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law (RPRH) Law, during Aquino's regime.

According to Perez, the law, which was approved in 2012, championed sexual and reproductive health services and rights, making it available to all Filipinos.

“Former president Aquino III made it clear during his tenure that RH was a priority of his administration, despite opposition from some sectors,” Perez said in a statement.

“He was a Philippine leader who defended the cause of Filipino families. ‘P-Noy’ made good on his promise in his inaugural speech that every Pinoy was his ‘boss.’ In my book, it was a promise he kept well,” he further said.

Aquino, 61, is the son of democracy icons late President Corazon Aquino and slain senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.

He was rushed to Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City early Thursday morning before he passed away.—Llanesca Panti/Joviland Rita/Michaela del Callar/Consuelo Marquez/AOL/RSJ, GMA News