Former President Aquino laid to rest beside parents

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Former President Benigno Aquino III was laid to rest Saturday beside his parents, democracy icons Benigno Aquino Jr. and Cory Aquino, at the Manila Memorial Park.

Aquino was given full military honors upon the arrival of his urn at the private cemetery in Parañaque City.

But unlike the funerals of his parents which were attended by thousands of people, only family members and a few supporters were allowed at the interment of Aquino due to COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings.

Filipinos, some clad in the Aquino’s signature color yellow, waited along the route of the funeral convoy flashing “Laban” signs.

The Aquino family had been careful to follow COVID-19 protocols during the course of the former president’s brief wake and limited the number of people who can enter the Church of the Gesú at the Ateneo de Manila University where the former president’s urn was displayed for public viewing.

“We would have wanted so much more for our brother,” Kris Aquino, the youngest sister of the former president, told reporters Thursday night at The Heritage Park in Taguig City. “He could have been lying in state in Malacañang but nirerespeto na hindi pa lahat ng tao sa Pilipinas ay nababakunahan (we respect the fact that not everyone has been vaccinated.)”

Aquino died in his sleep Thursday morning at the age of 61 due to renal disease secondary to diabetes after being in and out of the hospital for more than a year, according to his family.

The former president largely retreated to private life following his six-year term at the helm of the country, defined by his anti-corruption campaign, steady economic growth and his decision to haul China to an international court over disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

Aquino also faced criticisms over a botched police operation against extremists in a town in Maguindanao and the government’s response to Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Aquino served at the House from the 11th to 13th Congress, from 1998-2007. He then ran and won as senator in the 2007 midterm elections, and served the upper house for three years before gunning for the presidency after his mother, the first Philippine president after Marcos, died.

At the Senate, he sat as chairman of the committee on local government and as vice chairman of the committee on justice and human rights.

Aquino is survived by his sisters, Kris, Victoria Elisa Aquino-Dee, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Pinky Aquino-Abellada.

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