The remains of former President Noynoy Aquino were laid to rest last Saturday, June 26, at the Manila Memorial Park, beside his parents Ninoy Aquino and former President Corazon Aquino.
At the announcement of his passing, friends, colleagues, and even mere acquaintances of PNoy shared online posts and articles recounting their interactions with him to honor the late politician’s memory. Among these flood of written eulogies included Vice President Leni Robredo’s own recollection of her most embarrassing yet heartwarming moments with the President.
It was in Manila, 2012, during the wake of her husband Jesse Robredo, who was given Military Honors at Malacañang, that then Congresswoman Leni’s black Bally pumps decided to betray her. The Vice President could feel it happening just as they were marching behind Jesse’s casket, the gradual nightmare that was the rubber sole of her right shoe giving away beneath her. “I tried dragging my right foot, para hindi matuluyan, pero every step that I did, nararamdaman kong lumalala siya,” wrote VP Leni on her recent Facebook post.
To her relief, PNoy’s security detail were quick on their feet and had picked up her detached sole along the way, although the damage had already been done. “Nakarating ako sa loob ng Kalayaan Hall na wala na yung ilalim ng sapatos ko. Ramdam ko na yung ground at yung sahig,” the VP recalls. Perhaps sensitive to the long and tiring day the widow and her family had weathered the night prior—lost shoe sole and all—PNoy suggested that they take a quick break after the service.
VP Leni was then taken to a room where, almost comically, members of the PSG were waiting, rugby in hand, determined to salvage what was left of her ruined pumps. “Naalala ko, habang pinapatuyo nila yung rugby sa sapatos ko, dumating si then Senate President Enrile and Speaker Belmonte to present to me the Resolutions of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Hinarap ko sila na nakapaa ako.”
In spite of the PSG's valiant efforts, a new pair of black Parisian shoes were delivered to VP Leni in less than an hour, at the request of then Social Secretary Susan D. Reyes.
It’s the same pair she ended up wearing to PNoy’s wake last Thursday at Heritage Park.
Her story doesn’t end there. VP Leni also recounted the equally unforgettable events that came right after the case of her worn-out Bally pumps. Moments which, although caused less of a fanfare, demonstrated the late President’s empathic and kind nature—a departure from the supposed stoic disposition he was often criticized for during his term.
“Nakatulog akong nakaupo sa couch sa pagod. I had very little sleep for almost a week already. Yun pala, PNoy came in while I was sleeping,” she said. “Nung nagising ako, may bed na sa loob ng room. Hiyang hiya ako. Sabi nung isang staff, pinapasok daw ni Sir para makapagpahinga kami ng mga bata. May iniwan pa siyang maraming Daim chocolates for us. After work, tumambay na si PNoy sa wake and he said yung chocolates daw favorite ni Jess. Pag meron daw nun sa office niya, laging nag tatake home yung asawa ko. Haha. Nakakahiya talaga kami. So whever I see those red wrappers Daim is known for, si PNoy naalala ko.”
“First night of the wake, PNoy was still there until way past midnight. Nakikipag kuwentuhan lang siya sa mga staff sa likod. The people there were already advising us to go to our hotel to rest pero nahihiya akong magpaalam umalis kasi andyan pa si Sir. After a while, nilakasan ko na yung loob ko magtanong sa isang staff kung anong oras kaya uuwi si PNoy, yung sagot sa akin 'Ma'am, naghihintay lang po siya kasi ayaw niyang umalis na andito pa kayo.' Oopps!! Lalong nakakahiya.”
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