Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has passed away this morning, June 24. He was 61 years old.
Aquino, the son of the late former senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. and the late former President Corazon Aquino, “died peacefully in his sleep” at 6:30 a.m. due to renal disease secondary to diabetes, according to a family statement read by his sister Aurora Corazon Aquino-Abellada.
He was rushed this morning to Capitol Medical Center in Quezon City.
A known smoker, Aquino has been battling various illnesses since 2019 and went through dialysis for his ailment. He recently underwent a heart operation.
Aquino was elected as the 15th President of the Philippines and was sworn into office on June 30, 2010. He campaigned with a slogan of “Daang Matuwid”, a platform of good governance and anti-corruption in government.
Prior to his term as the country’s chief, Aquino had served as a Tarlac’s representative in the Lower House from 1998 to 2007, and as a senator from 2007 to 2010.
During Aquino’s term as president, the Philippine economy saw improvement, growing an average of 6.2% yearly. Various infrastructure projects, particularly under the public-private partnership scheme, were launched during his term, some of which were completed during the term of his successor.
It was also under his administration when the Philippines initiated the filing of case against China’s excessive claims in the West Philippine Sea before the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The court handed a ruling in favor of the Philippines in July 2016.
He also, however, faced controversies during his term, such as the handling of the Manila hostage crisis in 2010, the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda in 2011, and the death of 44 Special Action Force operatives in a failed operation in Mamasapanoo in 2015.
Aquino ended his term on June 30, 2016 and led a private life since.