Former Philippine President Benigno dies at age of 61

 Former Philippine President Benigno dies at age of 61

Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino dies at age of 61

MANILA, 24 June: Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has died after a prolonged illness, according to several news reports and later confirmed by his family.

News reports say Aquino had been undergoing dialysis for at least five months and had recently undergone heart surgery. According to international media, he was hospitalised earlier in the day on Thursday.

Benigno, 61, served as the country’s 15th president from 2010 to 2016 and was succeeded in office by the incumbent, Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement on Thursday afternoon, the Aquino family said the former president died “peacefully in his sleep” after suffering from renal disease secondary to diabetes at 6:30am Manila time on Thursday (2230 GMT June 23).

The family also thanked the supporters of Aquino as well as those who worked in his household during his final days.

“No words can express how broken our hearts are and how long it will take for us to accept the reality that he is gone.”

‘Profound sadness’

“It is with profound sadness that I learned this morning of the passing of former President Benigno S. Aquino III,” Supreme Court Justice Marvic Leonen, who was appointed by Aquino in 2012, said in a statement earlier in the day.

“I knew him to be a kind man, driven by his passion to serve our people. I saw him carry his title with dignity and integrity,” added Leonen, who had also served as Aquino’s peace negotiator with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, said the nation is “grateful for the former President for his contribution and services to the country.”

The government has ordered that the country’s flag be flown at half-mast to mourn Aquino’s death.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who is an ally of Aquino, said in a statement that she is “heartbroken” to hear the news of the former president’s passing.

“He was a good friend and an honest president. He tried to do what was right, even when it was not popular,” she said.

Cardinal Jose Advincula, who was installed as the new archbishop of Manila on Thursday, also paid tribute to Aquino.

“Let us entrust him in the mercy of our loving Father. And let us now pray for the eternal repose for his soul,” he said, before observing a moment of silence for the former president during his inaugural mass. Aquino had clashed with the Catholic church on the issue of women’s reproductive health and the use of contraceptives, which the powerful church opposes.

In a statement, the European Union office in Manila said: “We mourn a friend who pushed for deepening of our relations.”

The German Embassy in Manila also issued a separate statement hailing Aquino for his role in “intensifying” ties between the Philippines and Germany during his term.

Web Desk

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