Aquino family again forgoes state funeral— this time, for PNoy

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2021 02:06 PM

Aquino family again forgoes state funeral— this time, for PNoy 1
The portrait of former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is seen behind honor guards during his wake at the Church of the Gesu in Ateneo de Manila University in Katipunan on June 25, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Aquino family again declined a state funeral, this time for the late former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who was laid to rest in military honors Saturday afternoon.

Aquino succumbed to renal failure as a result of diabetes. He died peacefully in his sleep, hours after he was rushed to hospital on Thursday, said his family. 

Aquino's remains were inurned at the Manila Memorial Park, beside his parents, democracy icons Ninoy and Corazon Aquino, who herself was president from 1986 until 1992. 

Nearly a decade ago, the Aquinos laid to rest their matriarch in August 2009, after refusing then President Gloria Arroyo's offer of a state funeral. 

But what is a state funeral, and why does it matter? 


A state funeral is a public ceremony that honors heads of state or other people of national significance. It returns a former leader for the last time to Malacañang, where he or she used to live.
Aquino's remains could have lied in state at the Heroes' Hall in Malacañang. 

President Rodrigo Duterte's allies have declined to confirm whether or not he offered a state funeral for his predecessor. 

But an ABS-CBN source close to the Aquino family said they declined a state funeral. It was not immediately clear why. 

In 2009, the family also declined a state funeral for the revered "People Power" leader Corazon Aquino, Asia's first female president, after the Arroyo administration withdrew her security detail just before she died of colon cancer. 

The Heroes' Hall, which was supposed to host Cory's wake, served instead as the venue for a mass that Arroyo and her cabinet officials attended.

On August 5, 2009, hundreds of thousands ignored heavy rains and gathered for the procession that brought Cory's flag-draped coffin to the Manila Memorial Park from a funeral mass at the Manila Cathedral. 

Reuters reported her cortege stretched over 2 kilometers, with many of the mourners dressed in yellow, the color associated with the 1986 revolution that toppled the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. 

Cory's husband, a senator who staunchly opposed Marcos rule, was assassinated when he returned home from political exile in 1983. 

A crowd of about 1 million joined the funeral procession for Ninoy towards their family mausoleum on September 1, 1983. 

That same day, several hundreds of youths hurled rocks and crude bombs some 500 meters away from Malacañang, and had to be repelled by police with water canons, riot sticks, and warning shots, The New York Times reported. 


For Noynoy, Filipinos defied COVID-19 fears to line streets as the convoy bearing his flag-draped urn passed by following a funeral mass at the Ateneo de Manila University's Church of the Gesu.

Many flashed the "L" sign that stands for "Laban" or "Fight", the popular slogan of the EDSA peaceful revolt, and carried yellow ribbons and Aquino's posters. 

Aquino's four sisters, nephews, nieces, and former cabinet members attended the inurnment rites, where the military rendered a 21-gun salute for the late leader.

His urn was placed in a tomb beside his mother's by youngest sister Kris Aquino at 1:44 p.m. 


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Aquino was born on February 8, 1960 to one of the country's wealthiest land-owning political families.

A latecomer to the presidential race in 2010, he declared his candidacy only after his mother's death from cancer the previous year that had plunged the country into mourning, and demonstrated the power of the family name.

He made fighting corruption his mantra, capitalizing on his family's clean reputation, and vowed to reduce the poverty afflicting a third of the population.

His administration delivered average annual economic growth of just over 6.0 percent, the highest since the 1970s, handing the country investment-grade status -- but poverty remained endemic. 

Aquino, a product of the elite Ateneo de Manila University, was long mocked by opponents as a fortunately surnamed under-achiever with no administrative or business experience. They also said he had little to show for the more than a decade he spent as a congressman and senator.

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But the chain-smoking Aquino blossomed during the election campaign into a confident public speaker and the nation's leading critic of his predecessor, Arroyo, who was arrested for corruption after she left office. 

The Aquino family name was stamped into Philippine political history through tragedy. Military personnel shot dead Ninoy at Manila airport in 1983, which ignited the non-violent People Power.

In a coup attempt against Cory in 1987, rebel soldiers attacked the presidential palace and 3 of Noynoy's security men were killed. The future president had a bullet lodged in his neck, one of 5 that struck him. 

Unusually for the conservative Catholic country, Aquino remained a bachelor throughout his life, though had relationships with a number of women.

Unlike Duterte, Aquino put the Philippines' long-running dispute with China over competing claims to the South China Sea at the top of his foreign policy agenda. 

He launched a landmark case with a UN-backed tribunal to challenge Beijing's claims to most of the sea, which ruled in favor of the Philippines.

Beijing rejects the decision and Chinese ships have sustained incursions into Philippine waters under Duterte's administration. 

Duterte has set a 10-day period of national mourning to honor Aquino. The Philippine flag is to be flown at half-mast on all government buildings and facilities in the country and abroad until July 3. 

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– With reports from Reuters and Agence France-Presse