MANILA (UPDATE)— Former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was laid to rest at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City on Saturday, beside his parents, democracy icons Benigno Aquino Jr. and Corazon Aquino in solemn rites attended by family and friends.
The urn carrying Aquino's ashes was brought to his final resting place at 1:44 p.m. in military honors that honored him with volley fire and the traditional playing of "Taps." His youngest sister Kris Aquino placed the urn in the tomb.
The patriotic song "Bayan Ko" was performed as his tomb was being sealed.
Minutes earlier, sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz accepted the flag that had been placed on his urn from AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana and held it close to her chest, as if to hug her brother one last time.
Earlier in the day, in a private funeral mass at the Church of the Gesu in the Ateneo De Manila University, she spoke of the hole her brother has left in the family.
“Ngayon nabutas na ang aming pagsasamahan. Nawala na 'yung gitna. Hindi na uli kami magiging kumpleto,” she said in a tearful message toward the end of the mass, which gathered family, former government officials and friends.
(We are no longer complete and we will never be now he is gone.)
Hundreds of mourners, mostly clad in yellow and black, braved virus fears and lined the funeral convoy route to send off Aquino, the country's 15th president, as it passed through C5 and SLEX. Some carried yellow ribbons and Aquino's posters.
Soldiers paid tribute to its former commander in chief with a 21-gun salute and a bugle call. ]]
The Bureau of Fire Protection also honored Aquino with a water salute along Katipunan Avenue as the funeral convoy passed by, forming a water arch.
The funeral convoy lasted around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Some trees were tied with yellow ribbon at the Manila Memorial Park where he was given a 21-gun salute by the military.
Aquino's urn was first brought to a funeral carriage, carefully arranged with yellow and white flowers, while soldiers played the "Parangal sa Pangulo March" 150 meters to his gravesite. A helicopter dropped petals as the rites were being held.
His siblings Kris Aquino, Victoria Elisa Aquino-Dee, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, and Pinky Aquino-Abellada were all present at the inurnment, while hundreds of his loved ones and friends, wearing black, yellow, or white, also attended the solemn funeral.
Villegas prayed for and blessed Noynoy's ashes before it was laid to rest.
PNoy was cremated on Thursday, the same day he passed away due to renal disease secondary to diabetes. He was 61 years old.
On Friday, the late Philippine leader's family held a one-day public viewing at the Church of the Gesu.
Hundreds of Filipinos lined up at the Manila Memorial Park to visit Aquino's tomb and pay their respects after the burial rites.
Mourners were wearing yellow and black, some even wearing a yellow ribbon tied to their arms. Some brought along yellow paraphernalia as physical distancing was enforced.
Earlier, hundreds also lined the route of the funeral convoy from Ateneo de Manila University through C5 and SLEX on the way to the Parañaque cemetery.
Crowds waved yellow ribbons, Aquino posters, and the Philippine flag when they greeted the convoy, braving virus fears.
The Aquinos told ABS-CBN News that they declined a state funeral for the former president but did not say why.
A state funeral is a public ceremony that honors heads of state or other people of national significance. It returns a former leader for the last time to Malacañang, where he or she used to live.
Aquino's successor, President Rodrigo Duterte, a critic of his administration, earlier announced a period of national mourning from June 24 to July 3, 2021 following his passing.
After stepping down in 2016, Aquino was largely silent and out of public eye despite repeated criticisms from the incumbent President.
- With reports from Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News