Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III passed away yesterday morning at the age of 61. While most will remember the former head of state for his ‘Daang Matuwid’ style of governance and attempts to rid local roads of siren-happy motorists, the legacy he left to those who served closest to him is much easier to digest.
In an interview with PhilstarLife.com, 65-year-old Nory Mariano, Aquino’s personal driver, described his former boss as a kind and caring individual who taught him to be respectful of other road users.
“Kapag nag-beat ako ng traffic light, sinasabihan niya ako. Very particular siya sa pagsunod sa traffic light. Simpleng batas na dapat sundin. Red, stop. Green, go. Lagi niyang sinasabi yun. Ayaw niya nang hindi sumusunod sa batas-trapiko,” Mariano said, describing how Aquino would use to scold him on the job.
“‘Brother, yung lines sa kalsada, yan yung guide mo, hindi drawing yan. Bawal lumampas ang gulong sa guhit. Hindi atin ang kalsada. Marami tayong gumagamit nito. Kaya irerespeto natin ang ibang road users,’” he recalled.
Mariano, who has been serving the Aquinos as far back as Noynoy’s college years, also described how his former boss was a caring employer, saying the former Chief Executive allowed his family to live in the Aquinos’ Times Street residence in Quezon City when he was elected president.
“Sa totoo lang, ang turing na kasi nila sa akin ay pamilya. Noong President siya, pinatira niya yung pamilya ko sa Times. Anim kaming miyembro ng pamilya ko na nakatira sa Times. Asawa ko, mga anak ko. Pati yung nag-a-alaga sa apo ko, doon na rin pinatira ni Sir,” Mariano said.
As time passed, Mariano eventually asked his boss if he could step down from his pool of drivers due to his old age. He continued to drive Aquino on out-of-town trips during the latter’s presidency, though, and was among the first people to rush to Aquino’s aid when he was found unresponsive in his room the day he passed away.
“Ma-mi-miss ko si Sir. Nakakahinayang. Bata pa siya. Malungkot na malungkot kami,”Mariano said.
Sounds like a lot of road users could learn a thing or two about respect from the former president, too. What’s your fondest memory of Aquino’s term in Malacanang? Let us know in the comments.
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