President Noynoy Aquino’s term brought the country to several highs and lows.
From the popular “zero wang wangs” policy, or the prohibition of sirens on the road, save for police or emergency vehicles, to some lows like the Luneta hostage crisis and the Mamasapano debacle, the administration of PNoy (a term referring to President Noynoy), went through many other notable moments in the nation’s history.
These are the five key moments of PNoy’s presidency that is remembered by many.
1. Made efforts to stem corruption in government and fulfilled his campaign vow to charge in court his predecessor, former President Gloria Arroyo, for graft and corruption
The late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III ran under the campaign slogan “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap,” or, there would be no poverty if corruption is not present. The slogan, which also became his battle cry, sought to weed out corrupt elements in government and charge them in court.
The first on his list, as it turned out, was his own predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was charged with plunder in connection with the alleged misuse of some P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds from 2008 to 2010. Prosecutors claimed Arroyo used the funds for some “fictitious” expenses.
Ex-President Arroyo was also charged with several counts of graft and breach of ethics in the Sandiganbayan, this time in connection with her alleged approval of the country’s deal with China’s ZTE Corporation. The deal was scrapped.
The Supreme Court, under then Chief Justice Renato Corona, who was also the former chief of staff of President Arroyo, allowed the ex-president to leave the country, the PNoy administration took this as a sign of defiance to his campaign battle cry. Because of this, the PNoy administration rallied its allies in Congress to have CJ Corona impeached and subsequently convicted by the Senate for “failure to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.”
The PNoy administration also went after several big names in politics involved in anomalous government funds, chief of which is the pork barrel scam of Janet Napoles. The investigation initiated by the PNoy administration resulted in the charging and eventual incarceration of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, as well as Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr.
2. Improved the country’s economy that helped the nation reach investment grade status
Another key moment under the PNoy administration is its huge success in shoring up the country’s economy and bringing it to Investment Grade status. In an article published by the New York Times on March 27, 2013, it reported that the efforts of the PNoy administration since taking office on June 30, 2010 paid off. The country’s rating at BBB was higher than the lowest score within investment-grade scale.
For the first time in history, the Philippines, a poor country and was once considered the “Sick man of Asia,” attained investment grade status from Fitch Ratings, which was affirmed later by Standard & Poor.
Having an investment grade status was a vote of confidence for the Philippines, which was then considered one of the countries in the world that was safe to invest in. Because of this, the country then, can expect favorable outlook from investor countries like the United States, UK, Japan, and other first world nations.
In a statement made by the S&P on April of 2016, it said: “The ratings on the Philippines reflect our assessment of its strong external position, which features rising foreign exchange reserves, and low and declining external debt.”
“This means much more than lower interest rates on our debt and more investors buying our securities,” Pnoy stated at the time. He also said that such investment grade rating can be considered as an “institutional affirmation” of his administration’s government agenda, which focuses on “sound fiscal management and integrity-based leadership.”
3. Defended the country’s territory against Chinese incursion by filing a suit at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague
Following a terse stand-off between the maritime forces of China and the Philippine Navy in 2012, the Republic of the Philippines, under the PNoy administration, filed a complaint at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, Netherlands in 2013.
This was after China reneged on its promise in a US-brokered deal where both countries agree to withdraw its ships from the Scarborough Shoal area.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) maritime ship, upon withdrawal of the largest ship in Philippine Navy, instead of doing the same, took control of the shoal, prompting the PNoy administration to initiate the filing of a complaint against China for violating international law. PNoy administration officials also went further by asking the PCA to declare China’s “nine-dash line” as “void ab initio” or invalid since the beginning of time and without historical or factual basis.
In July of 2016, barely a month after President Aquino handed the reins over to newly-elected President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the PCA in The Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke of the claims made by China and handed a favorable ruling for the Philippines. The ruling, which refuted the historical claims of China over most of the South China Sea, also gave other countries like Indonesia, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam, more leverage in their own territorial disputes with PRC.
Unfortunately, the newly-elected President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, opted to shelve the ruling in favor of having bilateral talks with China. During his official visit to Beijing, President Duterte said the PCA ruling would have “to take the back seat.”
4. Pushed for the passage of the Reproductive Health Law
In what many viewed as an unpopular move in the largely Roman Catholic country, the PNoy administration put its weight on the Reproductive Health bill that was being pushed by a fraction of the opposition at the time, led by Rep. Edcel Lagman. The move, which the PNoy administration viewed as necessary in light of the rapidly growing population, received much criticisms, particularly from the church and its affiliate organizations.
Rallying administration allies in Congress and in the Senate, the bill swiftly went through several congressional readings and oversight, and finally signed into law on December 21, 2012. This, however, made PNoy an enemy in the eyes of the Catholic clergy, who then engaged in a campaign in an attempt to put the PNoy administration in a bad light.
5. Paved the way for the Bangsamoro Peace Accord
Another key moment in the PNoy administration was initiating steps to provide the final solution to the so-called “Mindanao problem.” Experts at the time advised then President Aquino that the ultimate solution for the decades-old problem is to allow some areas in Mindanao, particularly Basilan, Maguindanao, and other locations, to have full-autonomy. President Aquino himself submitted the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which paves the way for these areas to have full-autonomy.
While PNoy encountered strong resistance from even his allies in Congress on the proposed BBL, he did not waiver on his support of the bill, which he saw as a necessary step towards attaining a lasting peace in Mindanao. President Aquino, at the time, believed that the bill's passage cannot be stopped, though he did acknowledge the possibility that its passage might happen in the next administration.
Today, Muslim leaders in Mindanao recognize the valuable role that PNoy played in the eventual realization of the Bangsamoro. According to Naguib Sinarimbo of the Ministry of Interior and Local Government of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the peace process reached a breakthrough during the PNoy administration. “He took the risk to revive the peace process when he met with MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim in Tokyo,” Sinarimbo said.
There are many other key moments during the presidency of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. One of the things people also remember is the insistence of PNoy for his motorcade to stop when the traffic light turns red.
He also initiated the Public-Private Partnership program of the government. These resulted in dozens of notable projects like the construction of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Passenger Terminal Building, the Integrated Transport System (ITS) Project, NLEX-SLEX Connector Road, the CALA Expressway (Cavite and Laguna Side) project, Phase II of the NAIA Expressway Project, Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project, and many more.
Harry Roque, kinumpirma na sinabi ni President Duterte na dapat sa ospital lang ginagamit ang face shields
Some of these are even being lauded by DPWH’s Secretary Mark Villar under the present administration. With numerous achievements, and some pitfalls as other administrations commit, the ultimate judge on the presidency of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino will be history.
Perhaps five or ten years from now, when people look back on its successes and pitfalls, only then will judgment fall. Until then, Filipinos, at large, will undoubtedly express their sympathies to the Aquino family for the untimely demise of President Noynoy Aquino.
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Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III, also known as Noynoy and PNoy, was a former Congressman, Senator, and the 15th President of the Philippines. He was born on February 8, 1960 to the late Senator Benigno S. Aquino,Jr. and former President Corazon C. Aquino in Sampaloc, Manila. He belonged to a powerful political clan from his father’s and mother’s side. He died on June 24, 2021 in Quezon City due to natural causes. He was 61 years old. Among the legacies he left behind as President was the successful arbitration case filed against China. He was also instrumental in the AFP modernization program, the Bangsamoro peace process, and dozens of major infrastructure projects.
Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III died June 24, at the age of 61. A video of an ambulance carrying the remains of the former President of the Philippines went viral. The said ambulance can be seen in the clip leaving the parking area of the Capitol Medical Center. Aquino was rushed to the Capitol Medical Center where doctors tried and failed to revive him.
Kris Aquino was among the first to arrive at the Capitol Medical Center, where former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was hospitalized, on Thursday morning. She was spotted in a video rushing into the said hospital but did not give a statement. His close allies, former Senator Mar Roxas and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Jose Almendras, were reportedly seen in the hospital as well. Noynoy passed away at 61 years old after efforts to revive him failed.
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