PNoy on JVA: “His comforting presence will surely be missed”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/21 April) — “His comforting presence willsurely be missed,” President Benigno Simeon Aquino III said of  his“Tito Chito,”  Jesus V. Ayala, who, he said, “was always giving…without expecting anything in return all this time.”

Aquino arrived at the Bulwagan, the social hall of the Ayala compoundin Juna Subdivision, at 11:15 a.m. on Maundy Thursday to pay hisrespects to the industrialist and family friend who passed away onTuesday evening and whose remains were cremated Wednesday morning.

The President stayed for two hours and 35 minutes although he wassupposedly scheduled to leave at 12:30.Ayala was a staunch supporter of the President’s mother, Corazon, whowas President from 1986 to 1992. He also supported the senatorial andpresidential bid of her son, Benigno Simeon III or Noynoy.

Aquino spent about five minutes with Ayala’s wife, Fe, and herchildren, and Mayor Sara Duterte, at the Bulwagan, before proceedingto the Ayala residence in the same compound.In his senatorial bid in 2007,  then Tarlac Representative Aquino saidthe Ayalas here were his “primary supporter, the initial, the personswho were there constantly.” He landed second in Davao City, even ascampaigned only “once or twice.”

Aquino’s sisters Ballsy and Viel paid their respects Wednesdayafternoon. Another sister, Pinky, accompanied Aquino Thursday morning.The youngest Aquino sibling, Kris, is on vacation abroad with her twosons.As he was about to leave the Ayala residence, Aquino told reportersAyala was “a comforting presence” and was always “helping the entireclan from my mom’s time.”

Under his mom’s administration, Ayala served as chair of the RegionalDevelopment Task Force from 1986 to 1988. The Task Force was renamedRegional Development Council (RDC) in 1988 and Ayala also chaired thatuntil 2004 or 2005,  according to Wendel Avisado, Assistant Secretaryof the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

Ayala was also named member of the Monetary Board and was appointedPresidential Legislative Liaison.Speaking in Pilipino, Aquino said that as liaison to Congress, Ayaladid the balancing act to ensure the necessary legislations, includingthe Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, ) passed.Aquino also described Ayala as “always giving and klarong withoutexpecting anything in return all this time.”

“Nakakaguilty nga na baka madagdagan pa ang stress. He was ill at thatpoint in time,” he said of Ayala who again helped him in hisPresidential bid. “His comforting presence will surely be missed,” he said.“May mga constants na katulad niya na positive, na pag yun nawala, masmabigat yung loss eh,” he added.

Aquino recalled that when he was running for senator, they had anetwork of supporters in Luzon, “a little less in Visayas but hardlyany in Mindanao” and Ayala was the “lynchpin,” more so in thePresidency.

“So if I’ve been making any inroads there, it was becauseof the trust, confidence and efforts of people like Tito Chito.”He said Ayala could have opted to just relax as he was already feelingill then but “ginawa nya yung magagawa niya, ginawa nya yung kakayahannya, lumampas lampas pa doon.”

Ayala is survived by his wife Mafe, Children Miguel and Gauss, Leilaniand Mark, Ann Marie, Rafael and Ayumi; grandchildren Cesca, Pimee,Mayumi, Uno, Jaco, Andress, Jayjay and Ryu.

Masses will be held on Tuesday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at the Bulwagan tobe followed by a necrological service and at the old Christ the King Cathedral in Tagum City on April 28 at a time to be announced later.

In Manila, a mass will also be held on April 30 but details will alsobe announced later.A huge wreath from President Aquino and another wreath from VicePresident Jejomar Binay stand behind the table where the urn containing Ayala’s remains has been placed but the family has requested that instead of flowers donations to the Kauswagan sa Timogang Mindanaw Foundation, Inc., would be appreciated.

Cheques payable to the Foundation can be deposited at BDO SA 860282023.(Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)