Saguisag: Do we still have a Congress?
The courage of Eva Estrada-Kalaw for standing up to the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship was extolled on Thursday at necrological services in the Senate for the former senator who died on May 25 at the age of 96.
“The Marcoses were very well entrenched in power, people were afraid, and the press was silenced; and freedom, democracy and human rights were words used only by the opposition,” recalled former Sen. Tessie Aquino-Oreta.
There were a few brave men who dared go against Marcos, Oreta said. “Among them was this lady … she was unafraid.”
Some participants used the occasion to blast the current members of the Senate and the House of Representatives for rejecting opposition moves to convene a joint session to reject President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“Do we still have a Congress?” former Sen. Rene Saguisag asked, lamenting that today’s lawmakers have clammed up. “Puro tameme,” he said.
“We need the likes of Senator Eva today who will be asking the foolish questions of today: ‘Where is the invasion, who are the invaders, where is the rebellion, who are the rebels? Unfortunately, what we see now or here are echoes, not voices. She was a voice in our time,’” Saguisag said in his eulogy.
Former Sen. Eddie Ilarde said he was with Kalaw in the last Senate that was abolished upon declaration of martial law in 1972 by then President Marcos.
“We pray that this is not the last Senate when the next martial law is declared,” said Ilarde who called Kalaw a “mentor” and “one of the voices of what is right for the good of our country and our people.”
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III vowed to continue the public service of Kalaw.
“She may have been born in a different era, but the values of integrity, respect for the rule of law, and dedicated service to the people that she believed in and practiced remain as relevant as ever. Tita Eva, we are here to continue your causes,” Pimentel said.
Kalaw survived the 1971 bombing of the opposition Liberal Party rally at Plaza Miranda. She was the first woman to be elected to the Senate and the first to win a reelection. She was incarcerated several times for criticizing the Marcos regime.
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