x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Family to hold private funeral

The family of former Philippines president Corazon Aquino has declined the offer of a state burial in favour of a private funeral.

The family of former Philippines president Corazon Aquino, who died today after battling colon cancer, has decided on a private funeral for the democracy icon next week. The decision came shortly after President Gloria Arroyo offered a state burial for Ms Aquino and ordered a 10-day national period of mourning. Ms Aquino's senator son, Benigno Aquino Jr, said he and his four siblings had opted to bury their mother beside her late husband at a private cemetery in Manila.

"That was the intention from the start," Benigno Aquino Jr said, adding that nobody from the presidential office had contacted him "nor am I waiting to talk to anybody there". Ms Aquino was swept into the presidency after leading a "People Power" revolt that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. Her husband, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, was assassinated by Marcos henchmen three years earlier as he returned to Manila after a period of exile in the United States.

A vocal critic of corruption, Ms Aquino in recent years had a falling out with Mr Arroyo, whose family has been accused of massive corruption. Benigno Aquino said his mother's body would be taken to the campus of a Catholic school in Manila and would be on public view later today. Daily masses will be held until Wednesday, when Ms Aquino's remains will be laid to rest beside her husband. *AFP