Locsin eulogizes 'brave, incorruptible' PNoy as DFA lauds foreign policy legacy
In this 2014 file photo, President Benigno Aquino III attends a ceremony with security officials.
Malacañang Photo Bureau/File

Locsin eulogizes 'brave, incorruptible' PNoy as DFA lauds foreign policy legacy

Bella Perez-Rubio (Philstar.com) - June 24, 2021 - 3:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Thursday grieved the death of former President Benigno Aquino III who he remembered as "brave" and "indifferent to power and its trappings." 

The fifteenth president of the Philippines died earlier Thursday after being rushed to the Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City. He was 61 years old. 

In a series of tweets, Locsin said that the former president "wasn't fond" of him but admitted he could not help but admire the "incorruptible" son of two late democracy icons anyway. 

Locsin served as press secretary to Aquino's mother, former President Corazon Aquino. 

"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," Locsin said. 

"[He] ruled our country with a puzzling coldness but only because he hid his feelings so well it was thought he had none," the top diplomat added. "[I]t 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)." 

The late president's mother Cory "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," the foreign affairs secretary known for his outbursts on Twitter admitted.  

"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." 

DFA honors Aquino's 'remarkable' foreign policy legacy 

In a statement released later Thursday, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Aquino "has left a remarkable legacy on our country’s foreign policy and national history." 

"President Aquino elevated the country’s conduct of foreign relations, steered foreign policy towards a principled direction that earned international respect and esteem, and invigorated the foreign service with a collective sense of patriotism, commitment to service, and professionalism." 

Earlier this week, Locsin paid tribute to Aquino's most notable foreign policy achievement ahead of its firth anniversary: the arbitral win against Beijing in the South China Sea. 

It was under Aquino's leadership that the Philippines brought its maritime dispute with China to the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2014. 

On July 12, 2016, a few weeks after his presidential term ended, the tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China's nine-dash line claim over the South China Sea, part of which is the West Philippine Sea.

"For as long as nations abide by the rule of law and not of military might, the Award is the North Star that will keep us on course in the present, and that will point us back to the right direction in the future should we, in a moment of weakness or inaction, lose our way," Locsin said of the ruling. 

He also called the arbitral win "a milestone in the corpus of international law," that "is available to other countries with the same problematic maritime features as ours." 

Aquino in 2014 strengthened defense ties with the US through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which allows the global superpower's troops access to Philippine military bases. 

Aquino also made three personal appeals for the life of trafficking victim Mary Jane Veloso to the Indonesian government who sentenced her to death over drug offenses. Veloso, a domestic worker and mother of two who has said she was duped into carrying a suitcase lined with heroin into Indonesia, was spared at the eleventh hour. 

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