Ernesto Herrera a ‘modern Mabini,’ say former colleagues
An emotional Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III almost broke down on Wednesday when he and other former colleagues paid tribute to the late former Senator Ernesto “Boy” Herrera, whom they described as the “modern Apolinario Mabini.”
“An extraordinary man who lived in extraordinary times, he was my seatmate for six years in the 9th and 10th Congress,” Sotto said in his eulogy during a necrological service for Herrera, who died of cardiac arrest last October 29.
“Senator Herrera of Cebu and Bohol, of the Senate, of labor, the Mabini of our generation.”
Sotto, who was apparently trying to stop himself from crying, had to take long pauses before speaking.
“In the possession of power and honor, he did not speak of humility, he was simply humble,” he said.
“At the time when it was dangerous to decide in the fact-finding board of the Aquino assassination, he did not shout about courage, he was simply courageous. He joined the majority decision when he held up the mirror of truth before the face of power itself,” he further said.
The senator was referring to the Agrava fact-finding commission that investigated the 1983 assassination of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., father of incumbent President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
Like Sotto, former Senator Ernesto Maceda described Hererra as a “modern” Mabini.
“When I first met Boy Herrera in the late 1987… I also had full admiration for him for one simple reason: I could not believe that a paralytic, a man with the physical handicap, from the poor, could finish his law course, pass the bar and despite his physical handicap, conduct a national campaign and elect himself as senator. That for me is really a great cause for admiration and since the time on, I was a Boy Herrera admirer,” Maceda said.
He said Herrera was “everybody’s friend”, who never spoke ill of anybody.
“In fact, in the 12 years that he was senator, he never delivered a privilege speech against President Cory Aquino or against President Fidel Ramos. He’s always a very quiet but effective legislator and he was in his own way a very quiet supporter of everybody’s favorite bill,” said the former senator.
“I like to say to Boy, we are of course suffering a great feeling of loss like your family and we only hope that as the modern Apolinario Mabini, there will be many others to follow in your footsteps.. Rest well, Boy Herrera, rest in peace. Thank you again and goodbye,” Maceda added.
Former Senator Joey Lina also likened the late senator to Mabini.
“It’s amazing how a truly outstanding Filipino has conquered his physical handicap from polio to take on life challenges and excel in his endeavors that included being a summa cum laude when he got his MA in Public admin in 1995, and magna cum laude when he earned his PHD,” Lina said.
“Just like the sublime paralytic, Apolinario Mabini, Senator Herera used his intellectual prowess to serve the interest of our country.”
“Despite his physical infirmity, Herrera stood tall as he became the pride of the Philippines in international organizations abroad like in Belgium and Switzerland where he pursued his advocacies pertaining not only to labor concerns but to human rights as well,” Lina added.
Senator Sonny Angara also delivered the eulogy of his father, former Senator Edgardo Angara, for the late senator.
Edgardo Angara described Herrera as a “true democrat,” who shunned populist and hard-left rhetoric.”
“Boy Herrera’s drive and enthusiasm was undiminished by his physical handicap since he contracted polio in his youth. He achieved far more than his able-bodied counterparts and he lived a life of singular purpose. He remains an inspiration to us all,” said the former senator.
Senate President Franklin Drilon was the last to deliver a eulogy for Herrera. IDL
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