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Opinion

Bury a man’s good deeds with him?

POSTSCRIPT - Federico D. Pascual Jr. - The Philippine Star

“The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones. So let it be with Caesar.” So did Marc Antony start to say in his oration after the death of Julius Caesar at the hands of the noble Brutus and his honorable co-conspirators.

The line comes to mind as the nation grieves the death Thursday of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the 15th president of the Republic (2010-2016), and his countrymen pass judgment on his presidency.

As a debate has started to break above the prayers for calm and unity, we leave it to the mature members of the community to calibrate how much of the “evil” or the “good” attributed to Aquino will be interred with his ashes.

Noy’s record is already being used to examine the performance of the current administration, especially at this time when the nation appears drifting from its moral moorings. The contextual sweep of history will correct any aberration in our instamatic snapshot, but today’s opinions cannot wait for tomorrow’s verdict.

Although I’ve had conversations with his iconic parents Ninoy and Cory and written about those occasions in my more personal “Postscripts,” I never interviewed Noynoy before, during or after his presidency. I watched his performance from a distance.

My condolences and prayers go to Noy’s courageous sisters – Ballsy, Pinky, Viel and Kris – who supported him 100 percent without meddling into state affairs in an unusual departure from the practice of political families.

Random remarks on social media

What some people are saying on social media and other forums:

Bloomberg – Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the former Philippine president who oversaw the fastest period of growth since the 1970s and challenged China’s expansive territorial claims before a United Nations-backed tribunal, has died. He was 61.

GMA News – “Kayo ang boss ko.” With these words, uttered during his inaugural speech on June 30, 2010, Aquino made good governance and fighting corruption the centerpiece of his six-year presidency.

President Biden – A valued friend and partner to the United States, (Aquino) will long be remembered for serving his country with integrity and self-dedication. (His) steadfast commitment to advancing peace, upholding the rule of law and driving economic growth for all Filipinos, while taking bold steps to promote the rules-based international order, leaves a formidable legacy at home and abroad.

Feli Ana – Cory & him. Mag ina nga sila... Incorruptible… Honorable & decent. Sending our deepest sympathy!

Danielle Santos – This man never had a wife, but you can see that he knew how to support, respect and be kind to women. From living with strong women all his life, most probably, so we have his mother and sisters to thank for that. I am glad he was there for you, VP Leni, when you needed someone to help you with handling Sec. Robredo’s untimely passing.

SyLicoNgaAko – Ang nautang ng Aquino admin ay P1.37 trillion sa 6 na taon. Pero nabayarang utang ay aabot sa P3.6 trillion. May budget surplus at nagpautang pa ng $400 million sa Espanya. Samantala, sa loob lang ng 4 na taon ay umabot sa P3.1 trillion ang inutang ng Duterte admin.

The Professional Heckler – “Wala tayong balak mang-away, pero kailangan ding mabatid ng mundo na handa tayong ipagtanggol ang atin. Ang sa Pilipinas ay sa Pilipinas.” – President Noynoy Aquino (July 2011).

Masha Rostova – Sa loob ng 6 na taon, naging Asia’s Rising Tiger ang Pilipinas sa pamamahala ni Aquino; sa loob ng 5 taon pagiging tuta lang ng China ang ginampanang trabaho ni Rodrigo.

*      *      *

Leni Robredo on her Facebook page:

PNoy has been Jesse’s friend since he first ran for senator. Jesse always spoke highly of him – incorruptible, righteous, decent. I met him a few times but always at a distance.

I only got to know him on a personal level when Jesse’s plane went missing. He flew to Masbate at dawn to personally supervise the search and rescue operations. He flew to Naga to see me and the children to explain to us how the search was progressing and flew back to Masbate on the morning of Aug. 21, his dad’s death anniversary, when Jesse’s body was found.

He brought Jesse home to us in Naga and I remember telling him I wanted to see my husband for the last time before the embalming. PNoy was telling me, in not so many words, that Jesse was underwater for three days and was not in the best shape. But when I insisted, he accompanied me to the embalming room where Jesse was, still inside the body bag. I opened the bag and spent what seemed like forever, saying my final goodbye.

PNoy was just there, standing a few steps behind me, not saying anything and just letting me be. Months after, when it became easier to talk about it, he told me he made sure that he was just a few steps behind me so that he was near enough to catch me just in case I fainted. But when he saw me holding Jesse, he thought he would be the first one to faint.

Since then, he has always looked after me and the children. He would always ask how each of the three is doing. Even after he stepped down, he would send over food that he thinks the girls would enjoy.

When I was in Congress, I saw, first hand, how he worked as President. I had discussions with him about agrarian reform, freedom of information, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, among many others. He was diligent, was always prepared, asked the most difficult questions, but was always open to divergent views. I saw what Jesse meant when he said he was incorruptible, righteous and decent. I also saw how unaffected by power he was. He remained very simple.

It has been my greatest honor to have worked with him, even only for a while. It was a blessing to be his friend.

Rest well, Sir.

*      *      *

NB: All Postscripts are also archived at ManilaMail.com. Author is on Twitter as @FDPascual. Email: fdp333@yahoo.com

JULIUS CAESAR
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