A Mass was held Friday to mark the first death anniversary of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III where he was remembered as a competent leader.
The Mass, officiated by Ateneo President Fr. Bobby Yap, was held at the Church of Gesu inside Ateneo de Manila University’s campus in Quezon City.
“He was a president who led our nation with competence, conscience, compassion and commitment to bring a marked change on the lives of the millions of people,” Yap said.
Yap said Aquino lived up to Ateneo’s motto of being a man for others, and that the huge support for the Benigno Simeon Aquino III Scholarship Endowment initiative established after his death is a testament to his kind of public service.
“The fund has raised P50 million today. It will allow students outside NCR (National Capital Region) to study here in the Ateneo,” Yap said.
Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, the late president’s eldest sister, expressed appreciation to her brother’s Ateneo classmates for organizing the Mass and also to those who graced the event.
“Kayo ang tunay na mga kaibigan. Wala pang naimmbentong pang-uri para maisalarawan sa inyo ang galak ng aming mga puso sa pakikiisa niyo sa amin ng araw na ito,” Ballsy said.
“May I ask you to join me in considering what he said: That the Filipino is really worth fighting, that the Filipino will rise to the ocassion, and this will happen in His time. Keep the faith,” she added.
Among those who attended the Mass were Aquino’s other sister Pinky, Vice President Leni Robredo, Liberal Party members Senators Franklin Drilon and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, former presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and his deputy Abigal Valte, former Bureau of Internal Revenue Chief Kim Henares, and the Aquino household’s longtime staff Yolly Yebes.
Aquino, who led the country from 2010 to 2016, died last year at his home on Times Street due to renal disease secondary to diabetes. He is the only son of martyred senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. and the late President Corazon Aquino. —KBK, GMA News