Authors: JIM GOMEZ and AARON FAVILA
Manila, Philippines (Associated Press)-Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III was buried on June 26. Thousands of people held funerals on the streets of Manila to commemorate his standing up against China in the fierce territorial dispute , Reached a peace agreement with Muslim guerrillas and defended democracy in Southeast Asian countries whose parents helped overthrow the dictator.
After Aquino ended his six-year term in 2016, he was absent for a long time in 2016 due to kidney disease caused by diabetes at the age of 61. The grave of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino. Military honors include the sounding of a 21-gun salute in a private cemetery.
Aquino’s family did not want him or his parents to be buried in the National Cemetery of Heroes, where past presidents and senior officials, including the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, were buried.
Aquino’s mother and his assassinated father, an opposition senator who opposed Marcos, helped lead a resistance movement that triggered the army-backed “People’s Force” rebellion in 1986, and Marcos was ousted.
“On his journey, his two heroic parents will embrace him there,” Archbishop Socrates Villegas said at Mass.
Villegas praised Aquino for his image as a humble and honest politician, and he hated the shackles of power. Villegas resisted tears and said that he was jealous of Aquino because he was now in a place where “no longer violates God’s commandments, no longer blasphemes God’s name, where vulgarity, barbarism, and terror are conquered by sympathy.”
These remarks broadcast live on television are an indirect criticism of the current populist President Rodrigo Duterte. His arrogant style, rough speech, and long talks about the country’s dominant church are in sharp contrast to Aquino. Church leaders criticized Aquino’s successor for cruelly suppressing illegal drugs, resulting in the death of thousands of minor suspects, shocking Western governments and human rights monitoring agencies.
Although Duterte publicly ridiculed the opposition with Aquino, he called for Aquino’s sympathy to be turned into “an opportunity to pray for unity and set aside differences.”
“His memory and his family’s legacy of giving their lives to the cause of democracy will be etched in our hearts forever,” Duterte said.
After Mass, Aquino’s urn was transported to the cemetery by the convoy, and thousands of people took pictures on the side of the road. Some people wear yellow clothes or ribbons, which are related to the political opposition led by Aquino.
“We are saying goodbye and want to say thank you to the decent person who became the president,” said Teddy Lopez, a supporter, who waited for the convoy outside the cemetery. “In his time, we were respected by the whole world.”
President Joe Biden called Aquino “an important friend and partner of the United States”, and he “served the country with integrity and selfless dedication.”
Aquino’s family lived in exile in the United States for many years during Marcos’s rule, and relations with China as president were turbulent.
After Beijing sent a ship to occupy a shoal off the coast of the Philippines, Aquino authorized in 2013 to file a complaint with the International Court of Arbitration, questioning the validity of China’s comprehensive claims in the South China Sea. The Philippines basically won. However, China refused to join the arbitration and rejected the 2016 ruling of the arbitral tribunal.
“Some people think that the rule of law does not apply to big powers. He rejected this view and proved them wrong,” said Albert del Rosario, the former foreign secretary who served under Aquino.
With Aquino’s approval, Del Rosario led the effort to submit the country’s dispute with China to international arbitration. Aquino’s challenge to the rising superpower has been praised by Western and Asian governments, but it has brought relations with Beijing to an all-time low.
Domestically, one of Aquino’s main successes was the signing of a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the largest Muslim separatist rebel group, in 2014, which eased decades of fighting in the south of the country.
Teresita Deles, a former peace adviser to Aquino, said that the agreement prevented the insurgents who were helping to manage the Muslim Autonomous Region from continuing to launch rebellions as the Islamic State Group tried to gain a foothold in Southeast Asia. .
“It changed the whole face of their lives. The children’s studies have not been interrupted for seven years, and the fields have been replanted,” Del.
But despite Aquino’s opposition to corruption — detaining his predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) and three powerful senators — and launching an anti-poverty program, The deep-rooted inequality and weak institutions in the Philippines remain daunting. Due to insufficient evidence, Arroyo was eventually exonerated from corruption charges.
Although Aquino left the office with a high approval rate, opponents were criticized for his mistakes.
The term of office of the President of the Philippines is limited to one term.
Aquino ran for Duterte in 2016, warning that the looming dictator would thwart the democratic and economic momentum he gained during his tenure. He also warned that if Marcos’ son of the same name and the son who ran for vice president at the time win, it may be dangerous. He criticized Marcos’s son for refusing to admit that his authoritarian father “does the wrong country.”
Aquino then warned that supporters of the late dictator were trying to rewrite the horrors of the martial law era under Marcos.
“I also want to remind you that dictatorships have many faces,” Aquino said in February 2016.
“There are others who want to restore all of this in order to deprive people of the correct procedures and put the power to decide what is right and wrong into the hands of one person, who is innocent and who is guilty.”
Duterte won by a big score and later allowed Marcos to be buried with military honor in the Cemetery of Heroes. The US-based Human Rights Watch said that Duterte launched a bloody anti-drug campaign in his first year in office, calling it a “human rights disaster.”
Marcos’s son lost the vice presidential race by a narrow margin. According to reports, he is considering running for the same post, or even the highest post, at the end of Duterte’s term next year.