Vice-president Leni Robredo said Aquino was the number one victim of fake news and disinformation in the Duterte administration. 

Robredo said this in eulogizing former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who died last week of renal failure as complicated by diabetes. He was 61.

Robredo said although Aquino was unfairly treated and even vilified under the Duterte administration, he chose to remain silent instead of defending himself because his conscience was clear.

 “Iyong years after the (Aquino) presidency naging unfair. Naging unfair sa kaniya na… Hindi na-highlight iyong marami talagang ginawa niya,” the Vice-president said on her weekly program on RMN radio.

She blamed the army of trolls known as DDS or Diehard Duterte Supporters who, Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier alleged, are being organized in two troll farms for each province in preparation for the 2022 elections.   

Robredo said the “atmosphere” was different under President Duterte because many people believed the propaganda against the former president who still refused to set the record straight and enumerate his administration’s accomplishments. 

Robredo, chair of the former ruling Liberal Party led by Aquino, said the late former president did not bother to refute the lies being spread against him by supporters of the Duterte administration, believing that he did during his incumbency what was right for the country.

“Even if he was vilified, he didn’t defend himself. He always felt that God knows the truth and that ‘history will judge him correctly,’” she said.

Robredo said Aquino did not want public attention and even stopped allies who wanted to come out and defend him because the former chief executive did not want to steal someone else’s thunder as there was already a new administration.

Just last month, President Duterte slammed the previous Aquino administration for losing control of the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea in a showdown with China, saying it was primarily the fault of then Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert Del Rosario who ordered the retreat of Filipino forces in the area.

The Vice-president expressed “regret” that she did not exert more efforts to present Aquino’s accomplishments to the public and show the people that the allegations he sat on the job was a lie.

She said it is now the obligation of the opposition to show the people the truth every chance they get.

She enumerated some of the Aquino administration’s achievements, particularly in putting the country’s fiscal house in order, citing the $28.70 billion foreign direct investments under it from only $11.77 billion in 2010.

“The less corrupt, the less na perception na corrupt ang bansa, mas nakakabuti as far as investments are concerned,” she said.

Duterte was not present during the wake and interment of Aquino, although he apparently allowed some of his Cabinet officials, including Executive Sec. Salvador Medialdea, Justice Sec. Menardo Guevarra and the Defense Secretary to personally offer their condolences to the former president’s family at the Church of the Gesu in Ateneo de Manila University last June 25.   

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte had a meeting with officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at the time to discuss the proposal to extend the transition period for the Bangsamoro government.

Asked why Duterte was a no-show during Aquino’s interment, Roque replied: “Hindi ko na po alam kung bakit. It could be because it’s pandemic and we are trying to limit the numbers and, of course, the presence of the President would encourage crowds.”

Even so, Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1169 declaring June 24, 2021 to July 3, 2021 as a period of national mourning over the passing of Aquino.

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