MANILA - The country's bishops on Thursday expressed sorrow over the death of former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, just as they were grateful for the "mutual respect" between the Church and his administration during his term.
In a statement, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said they would remember PNoy, as he was called by Filipinos, for pushing forward democracy, good governance, and a person's dignity.
"We are grateful for the mutual respect that existed between his administration and the Catholic Church in the Philippines, rooted in our unwavering faith in the Triune God, and our shared commitment to build a just, humane society, especially for those who are in need," CBCP President Davao Archbishop Romulo Valles said.
The CBCP said it is also grateful for the role of his administration during the Canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod in 2012, the visit of Pope Francis in 2015, and the 51st Eucharistic Congress in Cebu city in 2016.
"We offer our condolences and prayers to the Aquino family, the friends and colleagues of the former president, and the entire filipino nation as we mourn his passing."
Noynoy died in his sleep early Thursday due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.
He was 61.
Aquino drew the ire of the Catholic Church when he signed the Reproductive Health Law in 2012, as he sought to offer free condoms and other contraceptives to the poor.
The CBCP, in 2011, reportedly pulled out of the talks with the government over the matter due to Aquino's stance.
The Church opposes artificial means of family planning such as the use of contraceptives, condoms, and birth pills. They espouse only natural family planning methods for Filipinos.