Escudero extolled for loyalty, service to PH, agricultureBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Congressional colleagues paid tribute to Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero III Wednesday, remembering him as a dedicated public servant who energized the country’s agriculture, pushed for educational reform and kept a stack of papers on his desk to personally answer each single letter sent to him.
They gave Escudero a standing ovation and bade him farewell during necrological services at the House of Representatives. They told anecdotes, recounting his humility, strong principles, dedication to public service, and commendable accomplishments in agriculture and education.
Escudero died on Monday at the age of 69, after fighting colon cancer for two years.
Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos, the widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, eulogized Escudero, who had served her husband as agriculture minister, and thanked him for remaining loyal not only to the country but also to the Marcos family.
‘Even when unpopular’
“He never left us in the most critical time of our history,” Marcos said. She thanked Escudero profusely for authoring a House resolution to give the dictator a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Escudero remained loyal to the Marcoses even when it was unpopular to do so, his son Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said. The younger Escudero thanked the lawmakers for honoring his father, and told them not to be sad at his passing but to celebrate his life.
Fellow lawmakers remembered Escudero’s valuable contributions to rice production. According to Sorsogon Representative Deogracias Ramos, the agriculture sector experienced growth even during a drought when Escudero was agriculture minister. He also improved the plight of farmers whom he organized into groups to turn them into entrepreneurs, colleagues said.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. extolled Escudero’s diligence and punctuality, noting that in the current Congress, Escudero was only absent twice, and only because of his illness.
And even when he was confined to a wheelchair during sessions, Escudero did his best to stand up every time the national anthem was sung, Belmonte said. Escudero’s 20 years as a legislator were “unblemished,” he added.
Always kept his word
The Sorsogon lawmaker also valued keeping one’s word, and always told officials during committee hearings not to say “yes” when they could not deliver on what was asked, and to just say “no” nicely, Belmonte said.
“It is better than saying ‘yes’ when it is an empty ‘yes,’” the Speaker quoted Escudero as saying.
His illness was never a hindrance to him doing his job, Ramos said. “He never got tired of serving the public even with his health reminding him [that] he was only a man,” he said.
La Union Representative Victor Ortega, a close friend of Escudero, said the latter was always humorous and jolly, but serious when he needed to be.
Belmonte, noting the hundreds of lawmakers who showed up for the service, said the unusual turnout was a testament to how well-loved Escudero was.
Television host Kris Aquino, President Benigno Aquino’s sister, who is known to be a close friend of Senator Escudero, also attended the service.