By John Ezekiel J. Hirro

The 15th president of the Republic of the Philippines, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, was laid to rest on Saturday.

Noynoy’s ashes were placed in an urn, which was put next to the tombs of his parents, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and Corazon “Cory” Aquino at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque.

There to witness the inurnment rites were Noynoy’s four sisters, Kris Aquino, Victoria Elisa Aquino-Dee, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Pinky Aquino-Abellada. Friends and former colleagues were also present.

Aquino was given full military honors before the inurnment.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana and Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar were present to welcome the urn containing the late president’s ashes.

During the arrival honors, the military gave a 21-gun salute while a band played the national anthem.

Aquino’s urn was then brought to a funeral carriage filled with yellow and white flowers, while a funeral march was given in honor of the Liberal Party icon.

The urn was placed inside the tomb at exactly 1:43 p.m. by Kris.

Noynoy died on Thursday morning at age 61 due to renal disease secondary to diabetes.

Aquino-Abellada said the former president died peacefully in his sleep and disclosed that he had frequented hospitals before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020.

His political career started in 1998 when he was elected congressman of Tarlac. He would go on to serve three terms from 1998 to 2007 before running for the Senate.

Noynoy won a Senate seat in 2007, and in the wake of his mother’s death, the presidency in the tumultuous 2010 campaign.

He served as the country’s 15th president until 2016, known for his “daang matuwid” (straight path) slogan. He earned public admiration for stopping at red lights and eschewing the use of sirens for his vehicle convoy.

During Noynoy’s term, the Philippines went from being the “sick man of Asia” to being “Asia’s Rising Tiger” per the World Bank, thanks to an economy that grew by an average of 6.2 percent.

His government saw the passage of landmark reforms in education, anti-corruption and government procurement, and reproductive health. His anti-corruption campaign saw the arrest of his predecessor, Gloria Arroyo, and the impeachment of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Noynoy, a bachelor, was the third of the Aquino children. Since his presidency ended, he had been mostly a private citizen.