MANILA — Former President Benigno Aquino III did what was right even when it was unpopular, Vice President Leni Robredo said, as she paid tribute to the former leader who passed away Thursday.
Aquino, popularly known as PNoy, was hospitalized on Thursday morning and later died, according to a family member who requested not to be named.
"Nakakadurog ng puso ang balitang wala na si PNoy. Mabuti siyang kaibigan at tapat na Pangulo," said Robredo, an ally of the former president.
(The news that PNoy is gone is heartbreaking. He is a good friend and an honest President.)
"He tried to do what was right, even when it was not popular. Tahimik at walang pagod siyang nagtrabaho para makatulong sa marami. He will be missed. Nakikiramay ako sa kanyang pamilya," she said on Twitter.
(He worked quietly and tirelessly to help many... I condole with his family.)
Video courtesy of "VP Leni Robredo" Facebook page
Robredo's late husband Jesse Robredo was Aquino's interior secretary.
"PNoy was a kind, steadying presence in the days after my late husband’s plane crash. Alam kong pareho kaming nagluluksa noon— nawalan ako ng asawa, at siya, ng kaibigan," she said in a statement.
"He extended kindness to my daughters, at sinigurong matutugunan ang mga pangangailangan namin, even after Jesse’s death. Sinalamin nito ang malasakit na laging ipinapakita ni PNoy: May dignidad, hindi magarbo, pero ever-present."
(I know we were both grieving then—I lost my husband, he lost a friend. He extended kindness to my daughters, and made sure that our needs were provided, even after Jesse's death. This reflects the sympathy that PNoy always showed: With dignity, without pomp, but ever-present.)
The Vice President said "no amount of historical distortion can change the truth" that Aquino's decisions were "oriented towards the betterment of the Filipino people."
"Hanggang sa dulo, naniwala si PNoy sa kabutihan ng Pilipino. And this faith inspired governance that pursued institutional reforms that uplifted many lives," she said.
(Until the end, PNoy believed in what is good in the Filipino.)
Aquino had backed Robredo's run in the 2016 elections. The vice president now chairs opposition Liberal Party, Aquino's political party.
The former president has several times defended Robredo from the tirades of his successor, President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte's office has yet to release a statement on Aquino's passing, as of around noon.