MANILA— Braving the virus threat, people from all walks of life on Friday paid their respects to former president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who died the day earlier due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.
The Aquino family, who also saw an outpour of support during the wake and funeral of democracy icons Benigno Aquino Jr. (1983) and Corazon "Cory" Aquino (2009), allowed a public viewing for Noynoy's remains at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), where the late president earned his college degree.
From Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City, where he was brought on Thursday, Aquino's remains were brought home to Green Meadows, and then to ADMU where it would stay for masses and public viewing until 10 p.m. Friday.
"Today, he comes home to Ateneo for one final time, surrounded by loved ones and by the people whom he called his 'boss,'" ADMU said in a statement.
Yellow and black ribbons lined Katipunan Avenue while applause greeted Aquino's urn as it entered the Church of the Gesu Friday morning.
Among those seen at the wake was Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who earlier lauded Aquino for recognizing "the importance of equipping our military to better respond to the evolving domestic and regional security challenges."
Also at the wake were Aquino's friend and running mate, former Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas, and former Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares, among others.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who had repeatedly criticized his predecessor over various issues, sent a wreath with a message of condolences to the Aquino family.
Duterte earlier declared June 24 to July 3, 2021 as a "period of national mourning" in the Philippines over Aquino's passing.
Aquino's predecessor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also sent a wreath to the bereaved family.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public was urged to participate in an online viewing to pay respects to the late former president.
On social media, supporters have changed their profile photos to black or have added profile photo frames with the symbolic yellow ribbon.
Graphic artist Jojo Hilario's artwork depicting Aquino being welcomed by his parents also made rounds online.
Hilario told ABS-CBN News that he was told that when people pass away, they are welcomed in the afterlife by their family who had gone ahead.
"It is my tribute to a sincere, honest and kind president," Hilario said.
Meanwhile, the Aquino residence in Times St. has become a makeshift memorial site, with Filipinos offering flowers and placards containing messages of thanks for Aquino and support for his family.
- With reports from Adrian Ayalin, Sherrie Ann Torres, Willard Cheng, and Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News