President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday joined the Philippine nation in mourning the death of his immediate predecessor, Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, who succumbed to kidney failure.
Duterte, who succeeded Aquino in 2016, remembered the former chief executive as "a leader who has given his best to serve the Filipino people."
"I join the entire nation in mourning the passing of Former President Benigno Aquino III," Duterte said in a statement.
"Let us all take this opportunity to unite in prayer and set aside our differences as we pay respects to a leader who has given his best to serve the Filipino people," he said.
Aquino, son of democracy icons Cory and Ninoy, died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday morning due to kidney disease, his sisters said.
In offering his sympathies to the Aquino siblings--Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, and Kris--as well as supporters of the late former chief executive, Duterte recognized the family's history of fighting for democracy.
"I express my deepest sympathies to his siblings, Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, and Kris, as well as to all his loved ones, friends and supporters, in this period of sadness. May you take comfort in the knowledge that he is now in a better place with his Creator," Duterte said.
"His memory and his family's legacy of offering their lives for the cause of democracy will forever remain etched in our hearts," he said.
During the signing of several bills into law in Malacañang on Thursday night, Duterte offered a moment of silence for the repose of Aquino's soul and assured his family of government support.
"I hope that my fellow Filipinos will be inspired by his legacy. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Aquino family," the President said in a speech.
Following news of Aquino's demise, Philippine flags all over the country were flown at half-mast, signifying national mourning.
While Aquino and Duterte belong to opposing political sides, the former has largely stayed out of the public eye after stepping down from office.
Throughout Duterte's presidency, however, Aquino's allies and members of the opposition Liberal Party have largely been branded as "dilawan" as a pejorative.