MANILA—Senators have joined the nation in mourning the death of former Senate President Jovito Salonga who was considered as champion of democracy.
”It is with deep sorrow that I join the entire nation in mourning the passing of former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said in a press statement.
Drilon described Salonga as veritable democrat, patriot and statesman who was a staunch opposition during the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
”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,” Drilon said.
”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 added.
Drilon said Salonga recruited and inducted him into the Liberal Party 15 years ago, drawing inspiration from the man whose 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.”
”It is my honor to belong to the same institution, and same political party, with such a distinguished public servant. Politicians come and go. But only few leave deep footprints on the sands of time like Senator Jovito R. Salonga,” Drilon said.
Senator Grace Poe, who, like Salonga, topped a senatorial election in 2013 with 20 million votes, described Salonga as the one who galvanized the Filipino people to pursue a path of freedom by fighting Martial Law and by leading the Senate to oust the US military bases in 1991.
”I grieve with the nation over the demise of former Senate President Jovito Salonga. He has lived through the most tumultuous years in the nation’s history, yet he remained enduring and inspiring positive change,” Poe, a leading presidential candidate in the May 9 elections, said.
”I will always remember his 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,” Poe added.
Senator Juan Edgardo ‘Sonny’ Angara described Salonga as an intellectual and political titan.
”I was never old enough to vote for former Senate President Jovito Salonga but I’ve read some of his books. An intellectual and political titan, he was the last of that generation of statesmen along with Jose Diokno and Ninoy Aquino. 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 said in a press statement.
Senator Paolo Benigno ‘Bam’ Aquino IV, whose uncle Agapito ‘Butz’ Aquino was part of the “Magnificent 12” along with Salonga who voted to end the US military bases, offered also his sincerest condolences and prayers to Salonga’s family and love ones.
”Sen. Jovy Salonga was 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.
According to reports, Salonga died at 3 p.m. on Thursday after three years of battling Alzheimer’s disease.