MANILA - "Mission accomplished ka, Noy."
These were the words of late president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's sisters on Thursday who were devastated over his untimely passing, as they hailed him for serving the Filipino people with "honesty and dignity."
In a statement read by Pinky Aquino-Abellada at the Heritage Park in Taguig, the sisters said their hearts are "broken" with the death of Noynoy, their only brother.
"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," Pinky said, with youngest sibling Kris Aquino by her side.
"Mission accomplished ka, Noy. Be happy now with dad and mom. We love you and we are so blessed to have had the privilege to have had you as our brother. We will miss you forever, Noy."
The sisters said PNoy, as he was known to Filipinos during his presidency, died while he was asleep.
He was 61.
He was pronounced dead at the Capitol Medical Center at 6:30 a.m. Thursday due to renal disease secondary to diabetes, they added.
AQUINO SISTERS RALLY BEHIND NOY
Aquino, a bachelor all his life, always had his sisters by his side through milestones in his political career.
On June 9, when he was proclaimed president, all his 4 sisters: Ballsy, Pinky, Viel and Kris were in Congress to support him.
The Aquino siblings, children of democracy icons Ninoy and Corazon Aquino, vowed to support him as the country's 15th chief executive, and even said he would need their strength.
This was proven true, even as Aquino returned to private life after his term ended in 2016.
He has made only rare public appearances since. When he appeared publicly, however, this was meant to answer the controversies and decisions he made during his administration.
His sisters, on the other hand, defended him from criticism even when the former chief executive refrained from doing so.
In 2017, he faced the Sandiganbayan and the Senate at the height of controversy surrounding anti-dengue drug Dengvaxia, which allegedly caused the deaths of several children during the vaccination rollout under his term.
According to Pinky, it was "hurtful" that their brother accepted all the harsh words silently, noting that their brother preferred to keep things in private even if they urged him to speak up.
"Masakit po para sa amin na tahimik niyang tinanggap ang mga batikos. Nakatatak sa aming magkakapatid na noong sinabihan namin siyang magsalita at labanan ang mga haka-haka, simple lang ang sagot niya: kaya pa niyang matulog sa gabi," she said.
(It hurt us that he accepted all the criticisms silently. What he said back then when we told him to speak up against the allegations was this: I can still sleep peacefully at night)
"When you enter public service, when you serve with honesty and dignity, and you know you have committed no crimes against the people, hindi ka matatakot magsabi nang totoo (you will not be afraid to tell the truth)"
NOY AS AN UNCLE
Noynoy was also known as a father figure to Joshua Aquino, his nephew, and sister Kris' son to actor Philip Salvador.
It was last year when Kris revealed that Joshua said he wanted to live in Tarlac with his uncle.
“We all know ‘di ba, na minsan love-hate ang relationship namin talaga ng only brother ko. Pero may soft spot siya for Kuya (Josh). So hindi tinanggihan,” she was quoted as saying last year.
Her youngest, Bimby, also had a close relationship with Noynoy, she had said.
Kris also admitted in 2018 that she had a "complicated" relationship with her brother, attributing it to their age gap.