MANILA - (UPDATED) The late president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III "never lost faith" in the Filipino people, his 2016 running mate and interior secretary Mar Roxas said.
"Ginampanan niya ng tama, tuwid, tapat ang kanyang tungkulin at obligasyon," he said.
(He did his responsibilities and obligations well and with honesty.)
"I just believe in PNoy’s case, history will treat him favorably because ang kanyang mga tinanim, hindi cash crop, hindi yung itinanim mo ngayon in 3 months bunga na, yung mga kanyang tinanim, Narra, Mahogany, talagang long term pero kailangan ng bansa," he added, as he recalled that Aquino was "never bitter" after he stepped down from office.
"I can only say, sigurado pwede niyang harapin nanay niya at tatay niya," Roxas said of his friend, who was the son of democracy icons Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. and Corazon Aquino.
Aquino passed away on Thursday due to renal disease secondary to diabetes. He was laid to rest at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City on Saturday, beside his parents.
Roxas said he had "less opportunities" to meet with the country's 15th president even before the pandemic.
"He never was bitter...He was always hopeful para sa bansa," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
"I believe PNoy sincerely wants, continues to want Duterte to succeed. No matter what, he’s the president and his success means success ng Pilipinas (the Philippines' success)."
It was in the third quarter of 2019 that Aquino told Roxas of his health, according to his running mate.
"Sabi ko sa kanya, ninong (sa kasal), you have to meet the fruit of your pagka ninong, our children. Dun siya nagtapat sa'kin, (about) his health... I’m not in good health, baka better you don’t bring your kids muna (just yet)," Roxas said.
(I told him as our godfather or principal sponsor, you have to meet our children. That's when he told me about his health.)
"If there’s any regret...I’m sad he’s gone, I’m sad he’s passed. I’m really sad na (that) he died alone. That he didn’t experience the joys of having a wife and kids...malungkot lang ako na na-miss niya yun (I'm just said he missed it.)."
Catch the full interview on TV Patrol later Monday.