The late President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III's eldest sister on Friday thanked "true friends" who stuck with their family when they were down and some people were treating them like a "deadly virus worse than COVID".
Ballsy Aquino-Cruz paid tribute to her brother on the first anniversary of his death, calling him a "simple, honest, self-effacing and decent Filipino who gave his all without fanfare".
Likening the highs and lows of their family to a rollercoaster ride, the eldest of the four remaining Aquino sisters said the low points "were really extraordinary".
"There were times when we felt like we were a deadly virus, worse than COVID. Our mother bore the brunt of that and later, Noynoy did," she said.
"We learned the hard way that anyone can show up and celebrate with you when you’re up there. But the ones who stay by your side when things are not going your way, they are your genuine friends," she said.
"Kayong mga minsa’y pinagsilbihan ni Noynoy na naririto ngayon para gunitain ang anibersaryo ng kanyang pagsakabilang buhay, kayo ang tunay na mga kaibigan,” she said.
“Wala pang naiimbentong pang-uri para maisalarawan sa ko inyo ang galak ng aming mga puso sa pakikiisa nyo sa amin ngayong araw na ito," she said.
Aquino died in the family home in Quezon City on June 24, 2021 after battling kidney disease and diabetes. Since leaving office in 2016, disinformation on the internet sought to tarnish his legacy of laying the groundwork for infrastructure development, securing the country's first ever investment grade rating and restoring the confidence of foreign businessmen on the country.