MANILA - Former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was peacefully asleep when his long-time househelp Yolly Yebes checked on him on the eve of his death, she said Sunday.
He earlier told her he wanted to eat crispy pata, sisig, and burger on Thursday, said Yebes, who has been serving in the Aquino household for 30 years.
"Tatawag na lang daw siya kung kakain siya. 'Yun po ang pinahanda niya... 'Di siya tumatawag. Mga 12 (a.m.), pinasok ko siya, tulog," she told Vice President Leni Robredo in the latter's weekly radio show.
(He said he would ring if he will eat. That's what he asked me to prepare. He didn't ring, so I checked on him at around 12 a.m. He was asleep.)
Yebes then told Aquino's security detail to wake her if the former president calls for her. When she woke up at 5:45 a.m. of Thursday, the security aide said the president did not ring, according to Yebes.
"Kinabahan ako... Pumasok po ako sa kwarto niya... Sabi ko 'Sir, Sir'. Eh, 'di na po siya kumikibo. Parang nag-ano na po yung katawan ko, parang iba. Lumabas po ako, tinawag ko po ang nurse. 'Yung nurse na ang nagpunta sa kwarto. Parang iba ang tignin ko kay, Sir, pero nasa La-Z-Boy pa rin po siya," she recalled.
(I was anxious. I entered his room and called him, 'Sir, Sir'. He did not respond. I called the nurse who then entered the room. He seemed different to me, but he was still seated on the La-Z-Boy.)
The country's 15th president had died of renal failure secondary to diabetes at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, his family said.
When he was President, Aquino would usually go straight to his room to read or to watch something after coming from work, Yebes said.
"Napakabait, hindi siya palautos talaga," she said.
(He was very kind, he was not the type to order people around.)
She usually prepared "crispy" corned beef and bacon for his breakfast, and adobo for lunch, as requested by the former president.
"Ang sakit po kasi parang siya na po ang pamilya ko. Magmula po nung pandemic, hindi po ako umuwi sa amin. 'Yung inaala ko po, baka mahawahan siya."
(It hurts because he's like my family already. Since the pandemic began, I did not go home, I was concerned he would get infected.)
Robredo said she received a text message from one of Aquino's sisters earlier Thursday, informing her that he had passed away.
"Dahil personal na kaibigan, ang dami talagang regrets - na sana pinaalam natin na mas maayos kung gaano natin na-appreciate ang mga ginawa niya," she said.
(Because he's a personal friend, there are many regrets such as I should have told him how much I appreciate all the things he did.)
"May obligasyon tayo na ipaalam sa tao. Nung nag-step down siya as President, ang daming disinformation, fake news. Maraming tao ang hindi okay ang tingin sa kanya dahil napapaniwala. 'Di kasalanan ng tao dahil yun ang available na news."
(We have an obligation to let the people know. When he stepped down as President, there were many disinformation, fake news. Many people did not like him because they believed those. It's not their fault that those were the available news.)
Aquino has several times called her for a meeting over her proposed bills during her stint as a lawmaker, Robredo recounted.
"Grabe yung level ng detalye na alam niya. Kahit saan siya pumunta, yung aide niya, may dalang malaking bag, may Constitution, lahat ng mapa. Kahit anong topic na i-discuss mo sa kaniya, alam niya. Sineryoso niya yung obligasyon na binigay sa kaniya," she said.
(His knowledge of details is impressive. Wherever he went, his aide would always carry a big bag, with the Constitution and all kinds of maps. He's knowledgeable on whatever topic you discuss with him. He took his obligation seriously.)
"Kahit may disagreements to some of the things, very respectful siya. Hindi masyado nakukwento kung gaano siya kasipag, gaano katutok."
(Even if there were some disgreements, he was very respectful. It was not known how much he worked hard, how focused he was.)