Why Aquino Kept Sickness Secret, Hated Wang-Wang and Photo-Ops

His close pal, Rene Almendras eulogizes former president.
Photo/s: Noynoy Aquino/Facebook

Former President Noynoy Aquino is a prayerful person, contrary to what his critics say and he has a favorite church song, "Anima Christi", which he plays when times get tough, according to his close pal and former cabinet secretary.

He's the son of Cory Aquino after all, how could he not turn to God? Rene Almendras said in a eulogy late Friday, the eve of Noynoy Aquino's inurnment. From attending soirees during martial law in the 1970s to serving as energy secretary, Almendras' friendship with Aquino spans decades. It's so deep that he knows things about Aquino that his sisters don't.

"He was a fighter to the end. Kilala nyo siya, hindi sumusuko si PNoy... He believed in God," Almendras said.

Aquino would listen to "Anima Christi" whenever he couldn't fall alseep because of the country's many problems. Almendras said the last line of the song rang true now that his close pal had passed -- "And when the call of death arrives, bid me come to thee, that I may praise thee with thy saints forever."


Almendras addressed many misconceptions about Aquino. The former energy chief said he's free to do so now because his close pal said he could say all these things only after the former president had died.

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Why Aquino kept his sickness secret

There was one minor heart procedure when Aquino flatlined, sending his friends who were at the hospital into panic, Almendras said. Like in a Cabinet meeting, he said the former president would meet with his doctors to discuss the upcoming procedure.

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On the eve of his angiogram, Aquino had a plan -- if it failed, proceed to the angioplasty; if the angioplasty failed, proceed to a bypass, Almendras said. Those procedures are all aimed at removing blockages in and around the heart.

"Walang sasabihan. Hindi pwede ikalat dahil siya po ay napakapribadong tao. Sorry po, takot po ako sa Pangulo," Almendras said.

"Ayaw niya po kayo maabala. Ayaw niya sabihin na nagpapawa siya," he said.

Why Aquino hated wang-wang

Aquino experienced being a social pariah during martial law, according to Almendras. Restaurants wouldn't want to be seen serving him and the ex-energy chief said relatives told him to keep his distance from the Aquino scion.

"Alam ni Pnoy ano pakiramdam what it is to be helpless, to be powerless. Alam ni PNoy what it feels to be api but that did not make him a bitter person," Almendras said.

Wang-wang or the blaring sirens from police escorts of a VIP convoy "was a representation of the abuse of power," Almendras quoted his former boss. It should not be abused.


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Why he hated photo opportunities

Aquino took a lot of flak when he was in office for shunning photo ops with recipients of government aid and victims of calamities. The most prominent of which were the widows of 44 police commandos who were killed in a botched anti-terror raid in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.


"Sana niyakap ni Presidente yung isang namatayan. Hindi siya ganun. Hindi niya gagawin yun para pakitang tao lang," Almendras said.

Aquino also avoided going to disaster sites until a few days after it strikes to avoid taking up government resources that would be better used for rescue and relief. Almendras said the President didn't want local officials to worry about attending to him.

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