MANILA - In remembrance of former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III on the 40th day since his passing, Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday reminded Filipinos that they are not "passive observers" of the country's democracy.
"Hindi tayo passive observer lang sa demokrasya, kundi may responsibilidad na makilahok," Robredo said in a statement.
(We are not passive observers of our democracy. We have a responsibility to take part in it.)
"Bawat isa may sapat na liwanag para makita ang mga susunod na hakbang tungo sa mas magandang bukas. Ito ang paniniwala ni PNoy mula pa noong umpisa," she added.
(Each one of us has a spark of light enough to see the steps for a better future. This was PNoy's belief at the beginning.)
"Dito tayo humuhugot ng lakas ngayon, at dito rin tayo huhugot ng lakas sa mga darating pang panahon."
(We get our strength from this, and we will continue to do so in the future.)
Robredo recalled how Aquino supported her and her family after her husband, his Interior Secretary, Jesse Robredo, died in a plane accident in 2012.
"Hanggang sa noong nagpumilit akong makita si Jesse sa huling pagkakataon, nandoon siya; kasama ko sa loob ng embalming room, nasa likod ko noong hinawakan ko ang asawa ko sa huling pagkakataon, tahimik akong binibigyan ng espasyong magluksa," she said.
(When I saw Jesse for the last time, he was with me. He was my silent companion while I was holding and mourning my husband for the last time.)
Robredo said Aquino always carried "himself with honor and dignity" during his presidency, either in the Philippines or on the international stage.
"...Alam niyang his words and actions reflect who we are as a people. Tayo ang Boss niya," she said.
In an official stamp launch for Aquino's memory at the Manila Central Post Office Building, Communications Secretary Andanar Martin Andanar lauded how PNoy "fought for and promoted our democratic foundations of liberty, sovereignty, and justice", and called on Filipinos to continue what the late leader started.
“Let us continue the contributions of PNoy in our country. Let us continue to embody the bravery and love for the country that he showed to each one of us,” Andanar said in a speech.
Aquino died on June 24 due to renal disease secondary to diabetes and was laid to rest two days later at Manila Memorial Park beside the tombs of his parents, democracy icons Ninoy Aquino and former President Corazon Aquino.
Prior to assuming the country's top post, Aquino served as senator, and representative of the Tarlac constituency north of Manila from 1998 to 2007.
Serving as President from 2010 to 2016, it was under his administration when the Philippines brought China to the arbitral tribunal over its vast claims in the South China Sea. Manila's victory against Beijing was announced in July 2016 after President Rodrigo Duterte had assumed power.
Aquino was largely silent and out of the public eye since the end of his term.