Paalam Pnoy


Homily delivered by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas at the Funeral Mass for President Benigno Aquino III at the Gesu Church, Ateneo de Manila University last June 26, 2021

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Nakakagulat…Nakakahinayang…Nakakalungkot…Nakaka-inggit. Sa kabila ng lahat…salamat pa rin sa Diyos!

President Noy crossed over to the next life as the sun was rising three days ago. The lights at Times Street have been extinguished; but there is no darkness. An endless bright day has dawned upon our dear President Noy. The sun will not set on him anymore. Darkness can touch him no longer. The battle is over, the victory is won!

His silence after his presidential term was a silence of dignity. As he brought dignity and honesty to his service to the nation as our President, he preserved that dignity after his retirement. It was the silence of noble statesmen now rare and forgotten. It was the silence of daang matuwid. It was a silence of nobility, that sense of dignity that we truly miss now. He endured and carried the cross of his health problems with courageous dignity, with uncomplaining fortitude, hidden from the limelight, known only to God. It was like the quiet nobility of the Lord before Pilate. Kaya tayo nagulat! Death for him came like a thief in the night as the Gospels say.

But then, it was not also surprising. Pnoy died as he lived. He served without fanfare. He abhorred power trappings and power tripping. He slipped away quietly as much as possible disturbing no one. Walang wang wang. Very PNoy and not surprising!

Gayunamn kung nagulat tayo sa kanyang biglang pagpanaw, magmasid tayo sa buong bansa, hindi ba dapat din tayong magulat sa mga nagaganap sa ating paligid? Eulogies have been written and spoken and shared but the best eulogy tribute we can pay our dear President Noy is to bring back, recover, preserve, safeguard and never to compromise again our dignity as a people and the decency of our leaders as servants not bosses. The flags at half- mast are not only for a dead President but for the dying decent governance. Tayo ang boss niya! He lived by it. We are grateful for it.

The greatest among you will be your servant, says the Lord.

From our human reckoning, sixty one is an age too young to die. But his relatively short life is a fitting reminder for us that what matters indeed is not how long we live, but how; after all Christ died at thirty three. When you are given a chance to serve, serve; a chance to lead, lead; a chance to soar high with the people, soar high. He responded to the call and gave us his best.

Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. He did not quote that bible text; he lived it.

He made himself an easy target of discontent, trolls and bashers but focused vision was the rule of his leadership game and what a brave headstrong visionary he was!

Sayang! He still had much to teach us about decency and integrity. He still had so much to teach us about good governance and professionalism. He still had so much to teach us about self-sacrifice and simplicity.  Maybe, and I do hope, his death will spark another fire within us to resurrect his example of decency and integrity. The sincerest form of tribute to dear President Noynoy is to relive his life lessons of decency and ethical leadership; recover honor and dignity in our private and public lives, among us citizens and our leaders. His mortal remains are now ashes but his integrity and decency must resurrect through us and in the leaders we choose.

As we express our shock and regrets, there is also a tinge of envy in my soul. Nakakainggit. President Noynoy has joined the pantheon of the great and has entered into eternity. He is where sickness can no longer threaten; where fake news has no more place and trolls are dead; where God’s commandments are no longer transgressed and God’s name is no longer blasphemed; where vulgarity and brutality is vanquished by compassion; where God and His love alone reigns supreme. That is where we believe he has crossed over, into the new heavens and the new earth.

We who are left behind sighing, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears must still toil under the heat of the sun. We still have to endure mediocrity and violence and vulgarity and treachery. Buti pa si PNoy, malaya na talaga! Sa kanyang pagtawid sa kabila, naroong yayakap sa kanya ang kanyang dalawang bayaning magulang. Proud parents of a noble son! Nakakainggit. There is a new great Filipino in heaven joining his great Filipino parents.

Nakakagulat. Nakakahinayang. Nakalulungkot. Nakakainggit. Sa kabila ng lahat…salamat pa rin sa Diyos!

Like Timothy he can say I have fought a good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.

Salamat Panginoon sa matuwid na lingkod bayan!

Salamat Panginoon sa marangal na katahimikan

Salamat sa halimbawa ng tuwid na daan

Salamat sa Pangulong ang boss niya ay taumbayan!

Salamat sa pamana ng aruga sa mahirap

Salamat sa paglilingkod na masusi at tapat

Salamat sa tapang na ipagtanggol ang dagat

Salamat sa talino at malinaw na pangarap!

President Noy kaming pong boss ninyo ay nagpapasalamat sa inyo.

Mabuhay kayo sa tahanan ng Diyos. Kami po ang boss ninyo. Kayo po ang aming champion!

May you find the rest that earth failed to give you! Alleluia! Amen.

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