Hundreds pay homage to Sorsogon’s ‘Tatay’By Juan Escandor Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon
SORSOGON CITY—Sorsoganons came by the hundreds in steady stream since Thursday to the spacious yard of the Escudero family home in Barangay Cabid-an here to pay their last respects to their “Tatay” (father) who died on Aug. 13.
“Tatay” referred to Sorsogon first district Rep. Salvador “Sonny” Escudero III, who died of cancer in a hospital in Manila, and whose remains were brought here via Legazpi Airport, for a three-night wake that would allow his fellow Sorsoganons a chance to pay him their final homage.
When the hearse carrying the casket of Escudero and the convoy arrived in Sorsogon City from Legazpi, Sorsoganons were on the streets to greet him. They stopped and watched as the convoy passed, according to Nora Duena, media relation officer of Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, son of the late congressman.
The older Escudero was father to his staff members and his constituents in the district, according to Mitch Sulit, the late solon’s trusted aide for
28 years. Sulit described his boss as an educator, who was respectful to his subordinates and believed in “loyalty as a virtue.”
“He never failed to say ‘tabi (please)’ every time he asked us to do tasks,” said Sulit who noted that the late congressman would not let Sundays pass without attending Mass.
Sulit said Escudero did not harbor ill feelings toward others as he believed “political rivalries only happen 45 days every election.”
He said his boss did not maintain private bodyguards, going around the district even at the height of activities of the New People’s Army rebels in the province. Sulit said he saw no fear in Escudero when, during one of their sorties in the first district, their entourage was only minutes away from an ambush that killed a soldier.
He said Escudero was the youngest dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of the Philippines (UP), a post he held shortly before he turned 28 years old in 1970.
He earned his degree in veterinary medicine at UP Los Baños in 1963, and studied veterinary medicine at the University of Queensland in Australia and completed it in 1968.
Escudero is survived by wife Evelina Guevara, sons Philip Joseph, 49, and Francis Joseph, 42, the senator, and daughter Bernadette, 36.
Senator Escudero remembered listening to his father’s many stories while growing up in Sorsogon. It was an aspect of his father he wouldn’t ever forget. “Of course, [I remember him] as a father, given that he reared me and made me who I am right now,” he said.
Senator Escudero said his father became a member of Batasang Pambansa in 1984, ran for Congress in 1987, and served until 1996 when he was appointed secretary of agriculture by then President Fidel Ramos.
Sulit said after a two-year stint with the Ramos administration, the older Escudero served as consultant to big agribusiness corporations for nine years, from 1998 to 2007.
Escudero’s remains were flown to Manila from Legazpi Airport yesterday. From Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal, the family and entourage were expected to motor to Arlington Funeral Homes where a Mass was to be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. before the cremation, according to a schedule released by the Escudero family on Saturday.