MANILA – Former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino was a private person who always followed the rules, his nephew said Friday.
“He was a very private man. Really not good with social media, really wants to keep things low-key,” his nephew Jiggy Cruz told ANC’s “Rundown.”
Jiggy, son of Noynoy’s sister Ballsy and first grandchild of Ninoy and Cory, also recalled that the late chief executive did things by the book.
“The thing with my Tito Noy, he was very straight. No one was as straight as him. No one really followed the rules like him,” he said.
“I think that’s what made him unique as a person and as a leader. He really followed the rules. ‘Daang Matuwid’ talaga ang kaniyang sinundan,” he added.
“Daang Matuwid” was Noynoy’s platform of clean governance when he ran for the country’s highest post in 2010.
As an uncle, Noynoy was more like a father to his nephews and nieces, Jiggy said.
“He was more than an uncle. He really took it upon himself to take care of his 8 pamangkins (niblings),” he said.
Jiggy also said his uncle took it hard when his grandfather was imprisoned during martial law.
“He had to be man of the house. He had to protect his mom and his 4 sisters. So, at an early age, he was given a big responsibility already and that carried on until he passed,” he added.
Noynoy died at a hospital on Thursday morning due to renal disease secondary to diabetes. He was 61.
He served as the country’s Chief Executive from 2010 to 2016. He was largely out of the public eye since the end of his term.
Noynoy has made only rare public appearances since. When he appeared publicly, however, this was meant to answer the controversies and decisions he made during his administration.
Asked what is his uncle’s legacy, Jiggy said: “He’d always tell us 8 to be good. To keep the [Aquino] name clean. So, the Aquino legacy for me would be leading with integrity [and] being decent. Just being a good Filipino citizen.”
For Noynoy’s former close-in staff member, the late President was an inspiration to young people.
“Thank you for all the accomplishment and actually for the inspiration not only to me but to a lot of young people who entered government and who also dedicated their lives to public service,” said Cedrick Forbes of the Presidential Management Staff.
He recalled that during their trips overseas, Noynoy would read books in his hotel room instead of going out.
“Buong araw siyang nakakulong sa hotel nagbabasa ng libro… Ayaw niya mag-ikot,” Forbes said.
(He’s inside the hotel reading books the whole day… He wouldn’t go out.)
The late President liked to read books of the thriller genre, such as those written by American novelist Tom Clancy.
Noynoy will be laid to rest on Saturday at the Manila Memorial Park.

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