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    Duterte on PNoy's death: Set aside our differences

    MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has issued official statement following the death of former President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday, June 24.

    President Rodrigo Duterte mourns the passing of former President Benigno S. Aquino III
    President Rodrigo Duterte mourns the passing of former President Benigno S. Aquino III  | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Noynoy Aquino

    The President extended his personal condolences to the Aquino family following the death of the former chief executive. According to Duterte, he is joining the Filipino public in mourning for Aquino’s passing. He reached out to the bereaved family and supporters of Aquino to send his sympathies.

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    The statement reads, “I join the entire nation in mourning the passing of former President Benigno S. Aquino III. 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 the Creator.”

    Duterte also took the time to call the rest of the Filipino people to set aside political differences and pay respects to the former president for his accomplishments and contributions to the nation.

    “Let us all take this opportunity to unite in prayer and set aside our differences as we pay respect to a leader who has given his best to serve the Filipino people.”

    “His memory and his family’s legacy of offering their lives for the cause of democracy will forever remain etched in our hearts.”

    Earlier, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement on behalf of Malacanang. In the statement, he noted how the government is grateful for the contributions of Aquino and urged the public to offer prayers.

    The statement reads, "We commiserate and condole with the family and the loved ones of former President Benigno Aquino III as we extended our condolences on his untimely demise."

    "We're grateful for the former president for his contribution and services to the country and we ask our people to offer a prayer for the eternal repose of the former chief executive."

    Starting at 2 pm on Thursday, all flags in Malacañang Palace fly at half-mast following Aquino's demise.

    Meanwhile, messages of condolences and support poured in for the Aquino family.

    Senate President Vicente Sotto III noted that it is not the time to take political sides but grieve together as a nation. He said, "No matter what political side you're on, when a former president passes away, the country mourns."

    Senator Joel Villanueva, appointed by Aquino in Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), admitted that he was devastated with the passing of his friend.

    "The nation lost a leader, and I, a friend. But he was more than that. He was a mentor, a brother to me. He believed in the great talents of our youth, waiting to be unlocked if given good training, right breaks, and inspiring success stories.”

    Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte also issued a statement and expressed her condolences to the bereaved family. Flags in Davao City will also be flown at half-mast until Aquino is buried.

    "The City Government of Davao is one with the nation in praying for the eternal repose of the soul of former President Benigno Aquino III," the city government said in a statement.

    — Sally, The Summit Express

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