MANILA (UPDATE)— Former Senator Mar Roxas paid tribute to his close friend, former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who passed away on Thursday due to renal disease.
Roxas, who served as Interior Secretary under Aquino, lauded the latter's performance as the country's Chief Executive from 2010 to 2016.
"You did all that you could and left things so much better than how you found them. Our country moved up and was respected all over the world. It's all anyone can ask," he said.
During Roxas said Aquino's death was "shocking and numbing" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Feeling drained and very saddened with COVID, I was hesitant to come, but you (people) came and I did because that’s what PNoy would have want it," he said during the necrological services for Aquino in Ateneo De Manila University on Friday.
"His purpose was to lead us in such a difficult time and the world saw us."
Roxas gave way to Aquino, his Liberal Party mate, for the 2010 presidential race following a public clamor for the latter to lead the nation after the death of former President Corazon Aquino in August 2009.
He settled to become Aquino's running mate, but lost to former Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay for the vice presidency.
Roxas ran for the presidency in 2016, with the official endorsement of Aquino, but lost to incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte.
Aquino had been undergoing dialysis 3 times a week in preparation for a kidney transplant before his death, according to a friend of their family. He was 61.
"PNoy", as he was fondly called, assumed power in 2010 on an anti-corruption platform.
"PNoy's" parents had staunchly opposed Ferdinand Marcos' strongman rule, leading to the assassination of his father Benigno Aquino Jr. when he returned home from political exile in 1983.
It was under the Aquino administration when the Philippines brought China to the arbitral tribunal over its vast claims in the South China Sea.
"We are proud of you as would be your mom and dad," Roxas said.
"Damo gid nga salamat (Thank you very much). Halong (Take care). We miss you already," Roxas said.