MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte lauded the late Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. for his contributions to the restoration democracy in the country as Filipinos mark the senator's 34th death anniversary on Monday.
In a statement released on the eve of Ninoy Aquino Day, Duterte credited the late senator for inspiring a peaceful revolution.
"Throughout his career, he fought for what was right and just. Up until the very end of his life, he inspired a peaceful revolution that resulted to liberties we enjoy today," he said.
The President also praised Aquino for his work as a journalist and politician that led to positive changes in society. Aquino, he said, remained steadfast amid the struggle during martial law.
Duterte hopes this year's commemoration will inspire the Filipinos today to be united and patriotic, echoing the late senator's famous line: "The Filipino is worth dying for."
"Even at a time when hope was lost, he remained steadfast in his struggle to restore democracy through non-violent means. His deeds have taught us we should always aspire for the common good -- even if one must go against the grain -- and do what is necessary," he added.
Aquino was a vocal critic of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Because of this he was imprisoned and exiled during the martial law period.
While returning to Manila from exile, he was assassinated at the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983. A few years after his assassination, the EDSA People Power revolution toppled the Marcos dictatorship.
His wife, Cory Aquino, went on to become president after the Marcos regime. His son and namesake, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III also became president in 2010 after Cory died.