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Death of ‘fierce liberal’ Henedina Abad saddens House colleagues, Robredo

/ 04:27 PM October 09, 2017

Vice President Leni Robredo and members of the House of Representatives have expressed sadness following the death of Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad, described fondly as a “fierce liberal.”

In a public post on her personal Facebook page, Robredo posted a picture of her with a smiling Abad and said: “This was just in January. Now she’s gone.”

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“You will be terribly missed, Congresswoman Dina Abad. The nation lost another treasure,” said Robredo, the chairperson of the Liberal Party, with which Abad was a member, along with her husband, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

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On behalf of LP, Quezon City 6th District Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte confirmed Abad’s passing and said the party would sponsor the Monday evening Mass at the Ateneo de Manila College Chapel in Quezon City where its members would deliver their eulogies.

Serving with ‘integrity until the end’

Abad’s office confirmed on Monday afternoon that she “passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, on the night of October 8, 2017.”

“Dina, as she was known to family and friends, devoted her life to the cause of the Filipino people, and she did so with passion, conviction, and integrity until the end,” read the statement.

Her remains will lie in repose at the Ateneo de Manila University College Chapel until the evening of Wednesday (Oct. 11).

Nightly masses will be held at 8:00 p.m., while a send-off mass will be conducted on Thursday (Oct. 12) at 10:00 a.m. at the Church of the Gesù in the same university.

Prior to her stint in politics, Abad was the dean of the Ateneo School of Government.

Abad will then be laid to rest in her home province of Batanes, without any necrological rites being held at the House of Representatives, according to any advisory by the House leadership.

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She is survived by her husband, former Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, and their children, Julia Andrea, Pio Emmanuel, Luis Andres, and Cecilia Paz.

Guiding liberals

Abad’s LP colleagues in the House remembered her as a human rights advocate who guided the party members on liberalism.

Deputy Speaker Rep. Miro Quimbo (Marikina, 2nd District) posted on his Twitter account (@miroquimbo): “She fought every battle like it was her last – with ferocity and integrity. #padayon.”

Meanwhile, Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon said on Twitter (@ruffybiazon) that Abad “guided me like an elder sister during my previous terms in Congress.”

Quezon City 5th District Rep. Alfred Vargas described her as “a remarkable teacher and friend,” and “a compelling inspiration to all of us for her brilliance, strength, and love for her people.”

Respectful of dissent

Meanwhile, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., who joined the opposition Magnificent Seven bloc, unlike most LP lawmakers, said Abad was “one of our foremost ideologues and fierce liberals.”

“She not only thought me the ABCs of intra-party politics but also inculcated in us the importance of strengthening a core of true blue liberals in our party,” Baguilat said.

He recalled that Abad tried to discourage him from contesting the speakership after the party decided to join the administration-controlled majority. But he said: “She did not castigate me for deciding against the party’s wishes.”

“She said that was being a Liberal, respect for the voice of dissent,” he added.

Baguilat added that before Abad fell sick she led study group discussions to help formulate the party’s positions on various issues such as reproductive health, political dynasties and freedom of information.

Fellow opposition member Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin, whose group aligned with the Aquino administration, described Abad as “one among a few principled advocates of human rights, social justice and democracy.”

Villarin recalled how Abad was stripped of her chairmanship of the Committee on Government Reorganization, when she did not case a vote in March during the third-reading voting on the revival of the death penalty for drug-related crimes.

“A caring and compassionate person who worked with the basic sectors before becoming a House member,” he said.

Condolences from the supermajority

House leaders belonging to the supermajority also extended their condolences to Abad’s family during their Ugnayan sa Batasan press briefing on Monday.

Davao City 1st District Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said: “She will be missed here in the House of Representatives. In fact, we already missed her during the time she trying to fight her bout of cancer; we haven–t been seeing her in the floor during the hearing.”

“It is always a sad occasion for Congress to lose one of its colleagues and this matter crosses party lines,” said Quirino Rep. Dakila Carlo Cua.

“It’s really difficult. In these times of adversity, we would like to condole with the family,” Surigao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Johnny Pimentel said.

Prior to her death, Abad had taken an unspecified number of notices of absence due to sickness every week during the past session, House Secretary-General Cesar Pareja said. /atm

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TAGS: 17th Congress, Henedina Abad, Leni Robredo, Liberal Party
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