Senators mourn passing of ‘patriot,’ ‘brilliant’ statesman Jovito Salonga
Senators on Thursday mourned the passing of former Senator Jovito Salonga, whom they described as “veritable democrat,” “patriot,” and a “well-respected, brilliant statesman.”
“Senator Jovy Salonga was a veritable democrat, patriot and statesman. He dedicated the best years of his life to fight for the restoration of democracy in our country. He led the post-EDSA Senate with his brand of principled leadership and undying love for the motherland,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said in a statement.
“His brilliance and sterling achievements as lawyer and lawmaker held generations of Filipinos in awe. He set the standard for public service by leading a life of honor and integrity,” he said.
Drilon said it was Salonga who recruited and inducted him into the Liberal Party (LP) 15 years ago.
It was an honor, he said, to be part of the same institution and political party “with such a distinguished public servant.”
The Senate leader is now the LP’s vice chairman.
“I am one of the millions of Filipinos who drew inspiration from Senator Jovy. His service to the Filipino masses remains the golden example to which we present and even future generations of lawmakers and leaders must strive to emulate,” Drilon said.
“Politicians come and go. But only few leave deep footprints on the sands of time like Senator Jovito R. Salonga,” he added.
Another LP member, Senator Bam Aquino, described Salonga as a “brilliant, well-respected statesman.”
“We will remember him fondly as a wise lawmaker and as an ally against oppression and corruption during the Martial Law era,” Aquino said in a separate statement.
“We offer our sincerest condolences and prayers to his family and loved ones during these somber days,” he added.
Senators Grace Poe, Loren Legarda and Sonny Angara, also joined the nation in mourning the death of the late senator.
“He has lived through the most tumultuous years in the nation’s history, yet he remained enduring and inspiring positive change,” Poe said in another statement.
Poe added: “He galvanized the Filipino people to pursue a path of freedom by fighting Martial Law and by leading the Senate to end the decades of the dominance of the US military bases in the country.”
Poe said she would always remember Salonga’s famous words: “We cannot and do not deserve freedom unless we are prepared to fight for it, to suffer for it and, if necessary, to die for it.”
“Let us relive in our deeds his ultimate legacy: the power of freedom,” she said.
For Legarda, Salonga is a “statesman of the highest order, a pillar of democracy, an indefatigable fighter for truth and justice whose brilliance and integrity are unparalleled.”
Legarda added: “His long remarkable life and illustrious career will always be cherished in the history of our nation.”
Meanwhile, Angara said Salonga was an “intellectual and political titan.”
“He was the last of that generation of statesmen along with Jose Diokno and Ninoy Aquino,” he said.
“He topped the Senate race thrice, topped the bar after World War II, and one of the few to do postgrad studies at UP, Harvard and Yale. Rest in peace, Senator Salonga,” Angara added. RAM
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