House honors late Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador
MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives honored Wednesday known human and labor rights defender and former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Joel Virador, 52, who succumbed to papillary carcinoma, a form thyroid cancer, last May 7.
Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin, members of the House Makabayan bloc, and other congressmen and House employees attended the memorial service.
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, Gabriela Rep. Emmi De Jesus, incumbent Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, and Arroyo delivered eulogies.
Arroyo lauded Virador, Bayan Muna and other progressive party-lists’ valor that helped preserve democracy.
She lamented how the country lost a “committed advocate who never wavered from his cause, who fought a good fight for the poor and marginalized.”
“He, Bayan Muna and the party-lists who he was allied with demonstrated the valor, the vibrancy, and the vigor with which Philippine democracy can live and function,” the outgoing Pampanga congresswoman said.
“In fighting the good fight for progress, injustice in our land, each in our own way, we’re all bonded to him.”
In 2006, Virador was part of the so-called “Batasan 6” Makabayan legislators who were under protective custody in the House following the filing of “nonbailable, trumped up” charges of rebellion against them by then-president Arroyo, according to Makabayan bloc’s House Resolution No. 2549.
The Supreme Court eventually dismissed the case in 2007.
Zarate meanwhile called on public servants and the people to honor Virador’s legacy by continuing his advocacy of searching for justice, peace and human rights.
The human rights defender who served as representative of the progressive Bayan Muna party-list in the 13th Congress from June 2004 to June 2007, is survived by wife Imelda, son Harvey Rafael, and daughter Joanna Paula.
Joanna proudly shared her father had maintained his integrity throughout his years in public office.
“Buong pagmamalaki naming masasabi na sa prinsipyadong paninilbihan ni tatay ay hindi siya nagpayaman sa pwesto hindi naging kurakot si tatay. Isa siyang mabuting asawa at mapagmahal na ama,” she said.
Virador, who was among the founding members of Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights before becoming a lawmaker, was laid to rest last Sunday. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.