Drilon pays tribute to TUCP co-founder Mendoza, political writer Rama
Senate President Franklin Drilon paid tribute on Friday to two “great” Cebuanos—labor leader and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines co-founder Democrito Mendoza and political writer Napoleon Rama— who both passed away early this week.
Drilon said the country’s labor and media sectors have suffered a “great loss with the deaths of Mendoza and Rama.
“I join the whole nation in grieving the passing of two distinguished Cebuano lawyers, Democrito Mendoza, a pillar of the Filipino labor movement and Napoleon Rama, one of Philippine journalism’s most outstanding practitioners,” he said in a statement.
Drilon said Mendoza, who he said was a friend and a respected colleague, will be remembered as a “principled and relentless champion of the Filipino working class, which he faithfully served throughout his long career as a labor leader and lawyer.”
“Me and Kito Mendoza go way back, when I was in private law practice and during my tenure as Secretary of the Department of Labor. I was witness to his courage and determination in fighting for the rights and interests of millions of our workers,” he said.
Drilon, who served the Cory Aquino administration as Labor Secretary in 1987, worked with Mendoza and other labor leaders in solving various labor disputes and issues which were brought into light after the fall of Marcos regime.
“I am proud to have once worked with such an upstanding individual in helping improve the lives of workers across this nation,” he said.
Furthermore, Drilon praised Rama, a former publisher of the Manila Bulletin and member of the 1971 Constitutional Convention and the 1986 Constitutional Commission, as a “fine and fearless defender of press freedom. According to him, Rama always stood his ground against oppression, censorship and state disregard for civil liberties.
“Rama was a journalist par excellence. His gift for writing insightful and principled articles on the various political issues of the day was matched only by his zeal in protecting the rights and freedoms of the fourth estate,” he said.
The Senate leader also noted that Rama once shared a prison cell with fellow freedom fighter and late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. during Martial Law, “because he would not shirk away from “his convictions and principles.”
Although Mendoza and Rama are gone, Drilon said, their legacies should be kept alive by newer generations of Filipinos, especially those in the legal profession, labor sector and the media industry.
“Kito Mendoza’s and Nap Rama’s words and deeds should remain an inspiration to all of us,” he said. RAM
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