Tributes, condolences pour in for ex-president Aquino

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 24)— Social media lit up with tributes on Thursday as several government officials, personalities, and netizens mourned the death of former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Vice President Leni Robredo said she was heartbroken after learning about the death of Aquino, whom she described as a good friend, an upright president, and a man of integrity who always put the welfare of the people above all else.

"He was courageous in facing down the systemic ills of society, in dismantling long-entrenched systems of corruption, in standing up for the country in the international stage," she added.

READ: VP Robredo remembers ex-President Aquino

The Liberal Party also mourned Aquino’s demise, saying the country “lost one of the finest examples of what a President should be.”

Malacañang also expressed its condolences to the loved ones of the former chief executive.

Senate President Tito Sotto said Aquino’s death “diminishes us all.”

“No matter what political side you're on, when a former president passes away, the country mourns,” he said.

Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said that aside from his achievements, Aquino will be remembered as part of the family that “contributed three important people to the history of our nation.”

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Final Word, Cesar Purisima - who served as Finance chief during the Aquino administration - said the late president really cared about the country and was clear about what he wanted to achieve for the nation. Purisima highlighted the confidence that consumers and investors developed with the policy reforms that the previous administration worked on, which then translated to the growth of the Philippine economy.

"We promised to deliver and we told them that it was not going to be a journey, but when we started delivering on the various pieces of the puzzle then we started gaining the support of the financial markets, investors, and even the consumers," he noted.

For then-Education Secretary Armin Luistro, Aquino was "the perfect boss," being a leader who "would allow you to vision with him and allow you to do work that will really benefit the people," he said in another interview.

As a non-political person, Luistro also said what helped him during his government stint was Aquino's attitude of not politicizing services to the people. For instance, Luistro said he would never allow pressure from politicians to change the qualifications that the Education Department has set for its appointees.

He also called Aquino, who pushed for the K-12 program, the "Philippine education president."

Edwin Lacierda, who served as Aquino’s spokesperson during his tenure, admitted he was shocked upon hearing the news.

Lacierda shared to CNN Philippines what it was like to work under the Aquino administration, and reminisced about the legacy the latter would be leaving behind.

“He tried his very best to attain all the objectives that he promised from the beginning,” Lacierda said. “Marami siyang legacy in terms of governance.”

Former Senator Bongbong Marcos also joined in the nation's mourning following Aquino's death.

Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano also remembered Aquino as a "friend and colleague" in Congress.

"We worked on many reforms together, and while we may not have always agreed on certain issues, we always knew he was doing his best and had the country's best interests in mind," Cayetano said.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, meanwhile, put a spotlight on the measures Aquino had passed during his presidency, including the Reproductive Health Law.

“[He] put aside partisanship when he endorsed and approved the foregoing laws notwithstanding the fact that I was their principal author representing the opposition,” Lagman said.

Netizens and even celebrities also took to social media to pay their respects to Aquino — who served as the nation's 15th president from 2010 to 2016.