Press Release
July 29, 2021

De Lima honors PNoy's legacy, says he was always a leader, never a politician

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima honored former President Benigno S. Aquino III for exemplifying decency, integrity, honor and humility for all his years in public service, which she said are the qualities that every public servant should possess in the discharge of their duties.

In her Sponsorship Speech for the Resolution honoring PNoy, which was entered into the Senate records last July 27, De Lima said it is fitting to recognize the life and legacy of the former President whom she described as "a leader, and never was a politician."

"Today we shed our tears for the man who was born into an obligation, who rose to the occasion, and who ultimately gave his life in the service of the Filipino people just like his parents before him," she said.

For all his years in public service, De Lima said PNoy "never did shy away from the greatest challenges that beset his position and our nation. He was neither noisy nor flamboyant, but he would always do the job and get things done."

"He earned the respect of people because he delivered on his promises, and always stood like a good soldier in a storm," De Lima added.

Last July 27, the Senate unanimously adopted Senate Resolution (SR) No. 760 honoring the life and legacy of PNoy. It is a consolidation of the respective Resolutions filed by Senators, including De Lima's SR No. 764 expressing the profound sympathy and sincere condolences of the Senate to the family of the former president and to a grieving nation.

PNoy, who was laid to rest last June 26, was buried at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City right next to his parents, democracy icons President Corazon "Cory" Aquino and Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.

"Few expected him to step out of the formidable shadows his parents had cast to craft an enduring legacy of his own. He was simple and kind and gentle, but he was also his father's and mother's son. And the apple did not fall far from the tree," De Lima said.

During his term as a President, De Lima said PNoy restored the faith of Filipinos in goodness, truth, justice and rule of law as he tirelessly fought against corruption and protected our national sovereignty.

"'Kayo ang boss ko' and 'Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap' were PNoy's presidential mantras to the people as he made fighting corruption the centerpiece of his administration, calling his vision 'Daang Matuwid,'" she recalled.

"PNoy courageously fought for our country's sovereignty and stood firmly against China when his administration defended the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity through diplomacy, believing that adherence to international law would result not only in regional stability but also in more lasting resolutions to maritime disputes," she added.

In January 2013, the Aquino government initiated arbitral proceedings under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to establish the Philippines' sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

The said executive action led to the Arbitral Tribunal's monumental decision that the Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over the WPS, and declared China's "nine-dash line" as invalid.

"He was neither intimidated nor bullied into submission by the superpower that is China. Instead, he was also guided by his mandate to the people and the sacred oath he took to always protect and uphold the welfare and the interest of the nation," De Lima said.

Aside from these, De Lima recalled that during his six-year term as President, PNoy helped transform the country from being the "Sick Man of Asia" to "Asia's Rising Tiger", leaving the next administration with strong economic fundamentals and a thriving and vibrant economy. De Lima likewise praised PNoy for not clinging to power after his presidency, stressing how he quietly returned to private life after his watch ended.

"He endured the pains of chastisement in silence, letting justice and truth run their course. And even when he got ill, he still stood like a good soldier in the storm - keeping it to himself, and never wanting to be a burden to others," she said.

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