What Ballsy Aquino-Cruz's Eulogy Reveals About Her Brother, The Late Former President Noynoy Aquino
The eldest of the Aquino siblings recalls some of the most meaningful moments she shared with him
Much of the late former Philippine President Noynoy Aquino's funeral services was simple. His remaining family, four sisters, followed the tradition that their parents Ninoy, a former senator, and Cory, the Philippines' first female president and both symbols of Philippine democracy, started; that they forego a state funeral and be buried in an ordinary place, in an ordinary fashion, and be among, not separate from, the Filipinos they served.
But even with his ceremony cut down to basics, a few moments stood out, one of which was the eulogy delivered by his older sister, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz. Tearfully, she spoke at the Ateneo de Manila's Church of the Gesù in front of relatives, friends of the family, past members of former President Noynoy's cabinet and current government officials, as well as some members of the public who attended the funeral mass.
She spoke for less than five minutes but in the brevity of her speech was something truly special. Below, we highlight some of the most powerful and inspiring statements she made.
In the beginning of her eulogy, Ballsy quoted her mother, Cory, for saying, "God was so generous. Dad was giving a hero's death. The kind of death that would profoundly changed the history of our nation."
The sentiment showed just how much the lives of Aquino family were forever intertwined with that of serving the nation. With the late president being a fourth-generation politician, public service has always been part and parcel of being an Aquino. It was no different for her younger brother Noynoy, or PNoy, as he wished others to call him when he was president. The Aquino legacy lives on through him.
"Napagisipan mo na lahat, napagdasalan mo na. At sinabi mo na kahit hindi ka namin tulungan o suportahan sa pagkampanya, itutuloy mo na. Talagang 'yun ang palagay niyang dapat niyang gawin. But we were the first to be with you. We were the first to hear that and we said, 'Noy, napagdesisyonan mo 'yan. Maski ayaw naming kumandidato ka, tutulong kami sa kaya namin.' Napangako ko kasi sa aming ina nang siya'y nagkasakit... ay sisiguraduhin ko na kaming lima ay palaging magtutulungan."
Holding back tears, Ballsy spoke of a deeply personal and private moment she and her siblings shared some time after their mother had passed away from cancer in 2009. They were together, just them, on the road, and that's when former President Noynoy finalized his plans of running for president with his sisters. It was his response to the people who longed to see another Aquino hold the highest seat of government in the country; Filipinos had hopes of feeling what they felt when Cory stepped up to the plate in the '80s and gave the Philippines what it so badly needed at the time. Though his term had its share of imperfections, many people look back at those six years with happiness.
"Tinupad niya 'yung pangako niya sa aming ama noong nakakulong siya sa Fort Laur sa Nueva Ecija, na aalagan niya ang aming ina at kaming apat, na tawag nga ng karamihan, mga witches. Ngayon, nabutas na 'yung aming pagsasamahan. Nawala na 'yung gitna. Hindi na ulit kami magiging kumpleto. Sinuwerte kami na naging anak kami ni Ninoy at ni Cory, pero gusto namin magpasalamat sa mga nagmahal kay Noy kahit hindi niyo siya kamaganak o kadugo."
Here was the part in Ballsy's eulogy that showed that although he was a President, a father of millions, he was a brother too, and the only brother to four girls and the succeeding man of the house when their father passed away. It's always bittersweet to be given a glimpse into the inner worlds of public figures like presidents whose face of strength and collectedness precede the very human struggles and concerns that lie beneath the surface.
"To the man we were so blessed to have as our brother, habang buhay ka naming ipagmamalaki, pasasalamatan, hahanap-hanapin, at mamahalin... At sa inyong lahat, mga boss ni Noy, maraming-maraming salamat po."
The "boss" Ballsy referred to are the Filipino people. During his term, President Aquino constantly emphasized that he worked for the citizens of the country, and no one else. He may be the President, but only because the people wanted him to be; everything he did in office, and even after, was always for their benefit.
Watch the full eulogy below.
Ballsy's son, Jiggy Cruz, was also interviewed on ANC the day after his uncle passed away. See what he had to say in this video.
Jiggy Aquino-Cruz on uncle PNoy: No one followed the rules like him
"No one really followed the rules like him." On #ANCRundown, Jiggy Aquino Cruz recalls how his uncle, ex-President Noynoy Aquino, taught him how to live a principled life. He also talks about how his family has been trying to cope with Aquino's death. #PaalamPNoyPosted by ANC 24/7 on Thursday, June 24, 2021
Photos from ABS-CBN News on Facebook