PNoy has been Jesse’s friend since he first ran for Senator. Jesse always spoke highly of him – incorruptible, righteous, decent. I met him a few times but always at a distance.
I only got to know him on a personal level when Jesse’s plane went missing. He flew to Masbate at dawn to personally supervise the search and rescue operations. He flew to Naga to see me and the children to explain to us how the search was progressing and flew back to Masbate in the morning of Aug 21, his Dad’s Death Anniversary, when Jesse’s body was found. He brought Jesse home to us in Naga and I remember telling him I wanted to see my husband for the last time before the embalming begins. PNoy was telling me, in not so many words, that Jesse was underwater for 3 days and was not in the best shape. But when I insisted, he accompanied me to the embalming room where Jesse was, still inside the body bag. I opened the body bag and spent what seemed like forever, saying my final goodbye. PNoy was just there, standing a few steps behind me, not saying anything and just letting me be. Months after, when it became easier to talk about it, he told me he made sure that he was just a few steps behind me so that he was near enough to catch me just in case I fainted. But when he saw me holding Jesse, he thought he would be the first one to faint.
Since then, he has always looked after me and the children. He would always ask how each of the three is doing. Even after he stepped down, he would send over food that he thinks the girls would enjoy. Aika Tricia Jillian
When I was in Congress, I saw, first hand, how he worked as President. I had discussions with him about Agrarian Reform, Freedom of Information, the Bangsamoro Basic Law, among many others. He was diligent, was always prepared, asks the most difficult questions, but was always open to divergent views. I saw what Jesse meant when he said he was incorruptible, righteous and decent. I also saw how unaffected by power he was. He remained very simple.
It has been my greatest honor to have worked with him, even only for a while. It was a blessing to be his friend.
Rest well, Sir.
Leni Robredo – post from her Facebook Account
Rest in peace Former President Benigno Aquino III