Rene Saguisag championed better legal rights for the poor

Rene Saguisag championed better legal rights for the underdog – senators

/ 10:57 AM April 24, 2024

Senators mourn the death of human rights lawyer Rene Saguisag

Former Senator Rene Saguisag (SENATE PRIB PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Senators mourned the death of human rights lawyer and former senator Rene Saguisag, remembering the “indelible mark” he left in the justice field.

In a statement on Wednesday, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Saguisag was a man of true honor, dignity, and integrity.


READ: Former Senator Rene Saguisag dies


“[H]is entire life was devoted to pursuing justice and fairness for every Filipino, particularly through such initiatives as the Free Legal Assistance Group,” said Zubiri.

“While leaving an indelible mark as a true statesman, he also emulated and lived out the principle that those who have less in life should have more in law by giving free legal services to the poor and needy,” said Zubiri.

According to Zubiri, Saguisag left a legacy of service and excellence that continues to be a “benchmark for many young lawmakers” and public servants.

The Senate chief extended his sincerest condolences to the loved ones of the former lawmaker. He then noted that Saguisag, in fact, co-authored laws that, up to now, benefit Filipinos.

These measures include the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Ombudsman Act of 1989.

‘Voice of the voiceless’


Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda said Saguisag willingly risked his life by speaking up and defending the oppressed, leading her to call the former senator the “voice of the voiceless.”

“I also admire him for continually standing up for human rights up until his final breath — wanting to make every Filipino viewed the same under the 1987 Constitution,” said Legarda in a statement.

“In his lone Senate term, he made sure that there would be accountability of public officials and civil servants and was one of those who vehemently opposed the stay of the US military bases in the country,” she added.

Patriot, nationalist

Meanwhile, in a post on X (formerly Twitter), Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero extended his condolences and prayers to the family and loved ones of Saguisag.

“He was a patriot, a nationalist, and an honest public servant,” said Escudero.

Close friend and mentor

For his part, Senator Robinhood Padilla said Saguisag was his close friend and mentor.

“Unbeknownst to everyone, Ka Rene has become my close friend, and I consider him a mentor when he became my lawyer back in the day – not only in matters of law but in matters of life,” said Padilla in a separate statement.

“Thank you very much, Ka Rene, for the wisdom you shared with us. We will never forget you,” he added.

Forever dear to us

On the other hand, Senator Grace Poe said Saguisag has devoted his time and brilliance to Filipinos, especially the disadvantaged.

“In our citizenship battle with the courts, Sen. Rene had stood with us, unconditionally lending his wit and wisdom, and for this, we will forever hold him dear,” said Poe.

The Philippine flag flew at half-mast in the Senate on April 24 to mourn the passing of the former senator.

Saguisag’s family confirmed his death on Wednesday. He was 84.

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“We request that our family be granted a few moments of privacy as we grieve. We will soon announce details of the service honoring his life, and we look forward to the opportunity to gather and pay tribute to a life lived with integrity and purpose,” Saguisag’s family said in a statement posted on his son Rebo’s Facebook page.

TAGS: Rene Saguisag, Senate

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