MANILA— Former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was a diligent chief executive who always kept a calculator on hand to ensure that state funds were well spent, his former political adviser said Friday.
Speaking to ANC, Ronald Llamas recalled how Aquino was criticized during his term over allegations of doing nothing, or what his detractors called "Noynoying."
"Nagulat kami. Napakasipag niya as president at saka napaka-conscientious. Talagang binabasa niya lahat," he said.
(We were surprised. He was a hard-working president and also very conscientious. He reads everything.)
"Sa Cabinet meeting, 'pag nagkamali ka ng isang numero e talagang papagalitan ka niya," he added.
(During Cabinet meetings, if you make a mistake with even one number, he will reprimand you.)
During his tenure, Aquino steered the Philippine economy to consistent and stable growth from 2010 to 2016. Growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) during his presidency was considered the highest since the 1970s.
Despite being born into a political clan, Llamas called Aquino a simple person who didn't like the "trappings of power," even while holding the highest position in the land.
"He was a very simple guy who rose up to a very complex job as President in a very complex place like the Philippines," he said, citing the myriad of problems, complex political system and various political actors in the country.
The 15th Philippine president passed away in his sleep on Thursday morning due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.
He is survived by his sisters Ballsy, Pinky, Viel and Kris, and their families.
Aquino's remains have been cremated and he will be laid to rest on Saturday at the Manila Memorial Park.
His successor, President Rodrigo Duterte, has declared a national day of mourning ending on July 3.