Benigno Aquino III: mourners gather to remember former Philippines president

Supporters paid tribute to former president and son of pro-democracy icons

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The urn with the remains of former Philippines president Benigno Aquino III was on display for public viewing in Quezon City on Friday, with a long queue of people waiting to pay respect.

The urn arrived on Friday at Quezon City’s Ateneo de Manila University chapel where it was handed over to the Church of the Gesu and displayed for public viewing.

Aquino, the son of pro-democracy icons who helped to topple dictator Ferdinand Marcos and a defender of good governance who took China’s sweeping territorial claims to an international court, died on Thursday at the age of 61.

His family told a news conference he died in his sleep as the result of "renal failure secondary to diabetes".

A former Cabinet official, Rogelio Singson, said Aquino had been undergoing dialysis and was preparing for a kidney transplant.

Condolences poured in from political leaders such as US President Joe Biden and Aquino’s successor Rodrigo Duterte and the dominant Catholic Church.

Philippine flags were at half-staff on government buildings.

Aquino served as president from 2010 to 2016 and was the heir of a family regarded as a bulwark against authoritarianism in the Philippines.

“I didn’t have any ambition to be president,” he said in a 2013 interview with Bloomberg News. “It was fate. The people found me.”

Aquino was born on February 8, 1960, the only son of five children.

An economics graduate from the Ateneo de Manila University, he served as a congressman and senator. Before his political career, he worked as retail supervisor and promotions manager at Nike’s Philippine unit.