Past, present senators hail Biazon: Gentleman, simple, hardworking legislator | Inquirer News

Past, present senators hail Biazon: Gentleman, simple, hardworking legislator

/ 12:48 PM June 19, 2023

MANILA, Philippines —Simply put, he was a distinguished rival.

Tributes for the late former senator Rodolfo Biazon poured during the necrological service hosted by the Senate on Monday, with past and former senators calling him a true gentleman, simple, and a respectable opponent on the field and within legislative halls.

During their respective eulogies, senators thanked Biazon for his service and expressed condolences to the bereaved family.  Former Senate president Vicente Sotto III and former senator Joey Lina recalled how Biazon remained humble when he ran for the Senate, even if he was already a well-decorated military official.


READ: Rodolfo Biazon, a warrior and a gentleman; 88


Sotto remembered Biazon for his role in mediating between rebel soldiers and government forces in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, where he called former senator Gregorio Honasan — his former adversary in the coup d’état during President Corazon Aquino’s term — to help in negotiations.

“Senator Biazon narrated that during the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, he called Greg for help to prevent bloodshed among soldiers. I arrived there first to escort Greg and was briefed by Pong on the situation. There was a deployment of the two opposing sides and there was a cocking of guns, the very thing that Greg Honasan, Pong Biazon, and I wanted to prevent,” Sotto said.

“I recalled Senator Honasan and Senator Biazon jumping in the middle to motion to stop the two sides from fighting each other,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lina recalled that even if he was one of the youngest senators back then, and Biazon was already a well-known figure, the former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff still consulted him about politics.

“Although he was older than me, with a wealth of experience, and had already achieved every soldier’s dream of rising to the pinnacle of success as chief of staff, he still found it necessary to seek counsel when he entered the world of politics,” Lina, a former Interior secretary, said.

“I was the youngest senator at that time, and yet he considered me a senior politician.  For him to give much value — and defer to whatever advice I gave him — certainly speaks volumes of his profound humility,” he added.


Senator Robinhood Padilla said that he first met Biazon in the 1990s, when they were making a film about a key member of the Rebolusyonaryong Alyansang Makabayan (RAM) who staged a coup against the Aquino administration.  While crafting the film, he consulted then-senator Biazon about the script and other aspects.

However, Padilla said he hopes the country will best remember Biazon as a soldier who fought Muslim insurgents while maintaining respect for them.

“Alam nyo po sa labanan, napakahirap humanap ng opisyal na marunong gumalang sa kalaban, marunong magpakita ng compassion sa kalaban. Diyan po nakilala si Lt. Rodolfo Biazon. Sa kainitan ng giyera sa Mindanao wala po akong kahit isang nabalitaan mula sa matatandang rebelde na nagkaroon ng pang-aabuso si Lt Rodolfo Biazon,” Padilla said.

(On the battlefield, it is hard to find officials who know how to respect opponents and who can show compassion even to enemies.  That is how Lt. Rodolfo Biazon was known: during the war in Mindanao, we have not heard, from the former rebels, of any incident where Lt. Rodolfo Biazon abused people.)

“Siya po ay nakipaglaban doon at wala pong ni isang kwento na siya ay may pinaslang, sinaktan, inabuso na mga kapatid na Muslim. Sapagka’t sa kanya po, tunay na nanaig ang officer and a gentleman […] Siya po ay isang tunay na tumayo para ipaglaban ang Republika at di po paghiwalay-hiwalay ang Pilipinas,” he added.

(He fought there, but no one said he assassinated, hurt, or abused our Muslim brothers and sisters. He was the epitome of a true officer and a gentleman.  He truly stood for the Republic so the Philippines would not be divided.)

READ: Mindanao soldiers pay tribute to ex-Sen. Rodolfo Biazon

Biazon died last June 12 — on Independence Day — after contracting pneumonia.  Before his hospitalization, Biazon was already battling lung cancer.

He was 88.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Biazon appeared to have sustained his military mindset when he came into the Senate, as he was always ready to serve, just like he was as a marine.

“Maybe that was the military man in him, ready to serve 24/7. He dedicated himself so completely to his work, to our people, and to our country, not just because his job called for him to do so, but simply because he so fiercely loved our country and our people,” Zubiri said in a video message, apologizing to Biazon’s family as he was away on official business.

“And I am so grateful that I got to witness him in action on the Senate floor, as I had the honor of working alongside him, when we were both in the Senate during the 14th Congress. At the time, he had already been a veteran legislator with a storied military career, and I was still a novice Senator with a lot to learn,” he added.

Zubiri said Biazon was a big help to him, assisting him when he was still a majority leader.

“I could not have asked for a better set of mentors to guide me as a Senate upstart. Senator Pong, in particular, was always very gracious with his guidance, and always so ready to cooperate and help out, especially when I was still finding my footing as a first-time Majority Leader,” the Senate President said.

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“Napakalaking bagay po sa akin ang tulong at tiwala ni (It was a big thing to me to be helped and trusted by) Senator Pong at the time. He was an accomplished general, with a long record of stellar leadership under his belt, and to have his support was as humbling as it was galvanizing,” he added.  “Kaya, maraming, maraming salamat po, Senator Pong. Saludo po ako sa iyo (Thank you so much, Senator Pong. I salute you).”

TAGS: Rodolfo Biazon

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