The Daily Manila Shimbun


Ex-president Aquino skips Ninoy’s death anniversary commemoration due to sickness

August 22, 2019

Is former President Bengino "Noynoy" Aquino III seriously ill?

The former leader was a no show in the commemoration of the 36th death anniversary of his father, late Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.

Noynoy's youngest sister, actress Kris Aquino, who delivered a message on behalf of her family at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque City where the tombs of Ninoy and his wife, former President Corazon Aquino, could be found, said her brother was sick.

"He's not okay. I'm not at liberty to say what's wrong with him because that's up to him," Kris said, adding that those who knew Noynoy, he would not skip such kind of gathering. 

"You knew him. He would attend in any event. The very fact that he's not here today, he's not okay. And maybe now he needs you. And he would never tell you that he's not okay," an emotional Kris said.

She blamed Noynoy's critics for his health condition. 

"All the criticisms, all those being thrown at him, all those lies, he has been taking all of them seriously and quietly," Kris said.

The 59-year old Noynoy is facing various charges for the Mamasapano incident where 44 police commandos were killed in 2015 in Maguindanao province and the Dengvaxia mess, both during his administration.

"So, these three years have been tough on him. I'm sure Dad will forgive me if I make this about Noy. A person who is good should not be crucified," she said.

Kris said since Noynoy, who asked her before not to speak on his behalf or to defend him, was not present, she could not be stopped from defending him.

"I was told before 'do not ever speak on my behalf', so I obeyed. But now I am speaking on his behalf because he is not here and he cannot stop me. He was a good man who did good work for his country. He was a good man who did not steal money from the government's coffers. He was a good man who maintained humility," she said.

She asked Noynoy's critics to give him a break.

"So give the guy a break because he did you no harm, and everybody, all of you who benefited from him, stand for him, Be ashamed of yourselves," she said.

"And what's happening now, my brother is not here, he's alone in Times Street (in Quezon City), he is not well. Try to imagine, picture your life, you didn't steal but everyday he's being criticized. You are accepting all the lies, you can see them, you can read them and yet you remain quiet. Imagine how difficult that life is," Kris said. 

"So I'm asking all of you now, if you love him (Noynoy), if he did something good to you, stand up for him, because it's only in speaking the truth that you can combat the lies," he added.

Asked if Noynoy's health condition was serious, Viel Aquino-Dee, Kris' elder sister, told reporters she was not sure.

"What I know is stomach. I really don't know. Actually I sent him a text message asking of how he is. He hasn't yet replied. I really don't know the details," she said.

"I guess he was not really feeling well to be able to drag himself out to come here, (but) may be it's not serious," she said.

Eldest sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, on the other hand, refused to be interviewed regarding the condition of the former president.

In her Facebook account, former Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abi Valte talked to Aquino. She said Aquino ''was unable to attend today's commemoration as he is down with the flu.'' ''It's nothing serious,'' she quoted Aquino.

Kris said it was a turn off that there were people who were "self-righteous" considering all people commit sins.

Without naming names, she said, "they created a playing field of hatred, we are all losers there because they set the rules."

Kris, who is one of the largest individual taxpayers in the country, urged for transparency in government, citing an incident at the airport where she paid Customs duties where the receipt was only handwritten and not computerized.

"In my mind, they collected from me huge amount of money, but the (receipt) was handwritten. I am not blaming that Customs official, because in my mind perhaps he was not receiving enough salary," she said.

"I pay millions in taxes, I just want to know, when the (taxes) are paid with the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), because now, you pay through the bank, but I want to know, where does it go? Let's have transparency, no questions asked. And all of us, we won't be in trouble if we all knew. The services which you're paying should all be given to you," she lamented.

Some of members of Noynoy's Cabinet who were present were former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Budget Secretaty Florencio Abad, Social Wefare Secretary Corazon Soliman, and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr.

Former Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Paolo "Bam" Aquino, and Rene Saguisag were also among those 200 friends and supporters of the Aquinos who were also present.

During the occasion, Kris made peace with Roxas after their tiff.

"I want to do it publicly, I'm sorry for everything that happened. I can publicly say it, I became jealous because I felt Noy chose you over me. Can we let bygones be bygones," she told Roxas whom he invited to join her at the front of the tombs of her parents.

She also clarified that Trillanes was not an "attack dog" of her family.

Kris cited it was Noynoy who told her to remove one of her bodyguards from the former senator's security agency because he did not trust Trillanes. Celerina Monte/DMS