MANILA— The late former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III had flatlined over a year ago while undergoing a medical procedure but was quickly revived, a close friend and former member of his Cabinet said Friday night in necrological services held in his honor.
Former energy chief Rene Almendras, during the necrological services for Aquino in Ateneo De Manila University on Friday, said that the man also known as "PNoy" underwent a minor medical procedure "more than a year ago" that required the latter to receive anesthesia.
"Nung binibigyan po siya ng anesthesia, nag-flatline po ang Presidente for a few seconds. Nagkagulo po kami. Hindi po namin alam kung anong gagawin. Buti na lang po na-revive ang Pangulo," Almendras recalled.
(When he was given anesthesia, the President's heart flatlined for a few seconds. We were in disarray. We didn't know what to do. It's good that he was revived.)
According to Almendras, Aquino made him, and those who were there that time, to keep the incident a secret.
"Hihingi po ako ng paumanhin sa lahat ng kaibigan, sa lahat ng kamag-anak na galit sa aming mga kaibigan, mga magkakapatid, at pamilya kung bakit hindi namin ikwinento na meron na palang sakit ang Pangulo," he said.
(I apologize to all of his friends and relatives who are angry with us why they were not informed the President was ill.)
Aquino didn't want anyone to visit him out of pity, Almendras said.
"Sabi niya, 'Pre, mapipilitan lang sila pumunta, bumisita. Eh wala na naman tayong magagawa pa,'" the former Cabinet member said.
(He said, 'They will be forced to come and visit. We can't do anything now.')
Aquino was pronounced dead at the Capitol Medical Center on Thursday due to renal disease secondary to diabetes. He was 61.
Almendras refuted reports that Aquino was depressed and didn't want to get his health better.
The former President was preparing to undergo a kidney transplant. He went through dialysis and angioplasty to gear up for his kidney transplant before he died.
"We were so looking forward to the transplant. He was a fighter to the end," Almendras said.
Almendras thanked Aquino for his friendship and service to the Philippines during his presidential term.
"Maraming salamat sa maraming puno mong tinatanim kahit alam mong hindi ka makikinabang sa puno na 'yun. Alam ng Diyos kung ano ang iyong ginawa para sa bayan at para sa mga Pilipino," he said.
(Thank you so much for the many trees you planted even though you knew you weren't going to benefit from it. God knows what you did for the country and for the Filipinos.)
The 15th President of the Philippines, Aquino is the only son of democracy icons Ninoy and former President Corazon Aquino.