Death of ‘man behind iconic Filipino brands’ to leave ‘big hole in our hearts’ — senators
MANILA, Philippines — The passing of business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., described as “the man behind iconic Filipino brands,” would leave “a big hole in our hearts,” senators said Wednesday.
Cojuangco, chairman and chief executive officer of San Miguel Corporation, passed away at the age of 85.
A former ambassador to the United States, Cojuangco also founded the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) party.
“The passing of our NPC chairman, Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco Jr., leaves a big hole in our hearts. I join the nation in mourning the passing of a titan in Philippine business and politics,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III, acting chair of the NPC, said in a statement.
“He lived an extraordinary life, a successful man who wore many hats as he made waves in the business sector and splashes in public service,” Sotto added.
“The vast ocean of entrepreneurship and political leadership will never drift as suavely and smoothly without his engaging presence,” he further said.
Describing Cojuangco as “NPC’s big boss,” Sotto said his legacy and vision “will continue with all its members, friends and especially, among his family.”
“The Sotto clan mourns the loss of a mentor and beloved friend,” he added.
For her part, Senator Grace Poe remembered Cojuangco as someone who “always looked for ways to empower communities.”
“He opened up opportunities for pervasive success as he believed deeply in the capabilities of Filipinos,” she said.
“We are saddened by his passing, but we celebrate a legacy, too, of the man behind iconic Filipino brands who in so many ways gave his share to make our country better,” she said in a statement.
NPC endorsed Poe when she ran for president in 2016 and again during her senatorial campaign in 2019.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, likewise, mourned the death of Cojuangco.
“I am saddened to learn of the passing of the man who has guided me as a young public servant then, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr.,” Gatchalian, a member of the NPC, said in a separate statement.
“His passing leaves us with a sad void. He was considered to be one of the country’s most successful industrialists,” he added.
The senator said he had witnessed how Cojuangco “shaped, over decades, the ideals and objectives of the party that centered on love for country.”
“He treated us like family and I will remain GRATEFUL for his support,” he said.
“Boss Danding was also a sports patron who has made great contributions especially in basketball since the ‘80s. My heart and my thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this difficult time,” he added.
‘Force of nature’
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri described Cojuangco as a “force of nature.”
Like his colleagues, Zubiri said the tycoon’s passing was not only a “huge loss” to the business world, but also to the world of politics and sports.
“He has done so much. In the political arena, of course, but especially in business. He took San Miguel to such great heights, and opened up employment opportunities to tens of thousands of Filipinos across the nation,” he said.
“His success with San Miguel has pervaded even our cultural landscape, extending into the world of sports—I can hardly imagine what the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) would be like without his support,” he added.
Senator Lito Lapid, likewise, said he was saddened by Cojuangco’s death.
“Si Boss Danding ay hindi lamang lider ng isa sa pinakamatatag at malaking partido sa buong bansa. Siya rin ay isang tunay na kaibigang malalapitan sa lahat ng pagkakataon,” he said.
(Boss Danding is not only a leader to one of the most established and largest political party in the country. He is also a true friend you can count on at anytime.)
“Kaya ganun na lamang ang taas ng aking respeto at lalim ng aking pagpapahalaga sa aming pagkakaibigan,” he added.
(That is the reason why I have a lot of respect and a deep appreciation for our friendship.)
Lapid said he owed a lot to Cojuangco, particularly in terms of the support he was given by the NPC when he ran as vice governor of Pampanga in 1992.
“Si Boss Danding kasama ng buong pwersa ng NPC ang tumulong sa akin para maipanalo ang unang sabak ko noon sa pulitika. Isang bagay na hindi ko kailanman malilimutan,” he said.
(Boss Danding, together with the NPC, helped me in my first victory in politics. It’s something that I would never forget.)
Senator Richard Gordon joined his colleagues in remembering the business tycoon.
“He is a good man and his love and enthusiasm to sports also greatly contributed to Philippine basketball and the Philippine sports as a whole,” Gordon said in a statement.
“I am certainly honored and glad that I knew Danding. Kate (Gordon’s wife) and I not only extend our deepest sympathies to his family, but join them in their grief and sorrow,” he added.
Meanwhile, Senator Nancy Binay offered thoughts and prayers to Cojuangco’s bereaved family.
Our thoughts and prayers to the family of Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. pic.twitter.com/bZ6ux5DNoJ
— Senator Nancy Binay (@SenatorBinay) June 17, 2020
Former senators also joined in mourning the death of the business tycoon.
“Goodbye Tito Danding. You were a rock in my life. Go with God now to a better place,” former Senator Bongbong Marcos wrote on Twitter.
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