We are all shocked by the news of the passing Butz Aquino. This month, already heavy with memory and loss for the Aquinos, becomes even graver. I express my condolences to the friends and admirers of Butz, as well as to his family, during this time of grief and loss.

Butz never planned to enter public service; he would have preferred a quiet life. But upon his shoulders were thrust the weight of service after his brother’s death. During a time when the simple act of attending the wake and funeral of Ninoy was in itself one of tremendous courage, Butz matched every such act by his countrymen by bearing witness to our people’s struggle for freedom. In the rallies, he was there. In the marches, he was there. He helped make the call that led to the EDSA Revolution. And when we had finally restored our democracy, he set aside private life and embraced public service.

With his passing, another member of the EDSA generation has left the scene, making it even more urgent for all of us to never forget the sacrifices that led to the freedoms we enjoy today. The promise of a fairer, freer, more prosperous future is a task Butz has now bequeathed to all of us—one that we must all contribute to.