Statement: Presidential Spokesperson on the passing of Jovito Salonga

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Statement of Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda
On the passing of former Senate President Jovito Salonga

[Released on March 10, 2016]

With heads bowed in grief and respect, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Senator Jovito Salonga. His passing marks the departure from this life of another of those brave, committed individuals who lit a candle during the deep darkness of the dictatorship; and who contributed to the restoration of our democratic way of life after the triumph of People Power.

Imbued with deep faith, he was a passionate advocate of the rule of law, of nationalism, and of our democratic institutions. A proud son of the province of Rizal, member of the wartime resistance, bar topnotcher, congressman, and senator, he was seriously wounded in the Plaza Miranda bombing of 1971. Rewarded with re-election to the Senate in the opposition sweep that year, he would face imprisonment during the dictatorship, and a period of self-exile in the United States. He became the first Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) and the first Senate President of the restored Philippine Senate in 1987. There, together with other legislators from both chambers of Congress, he defied coup plotters in 1989 and made history in the historic vote on the U.S. Bases Agreement in 1991.

As an elder statesman he stood squarely on the side of good government, and did his part in Kilosbayan and the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation to ensure that the sins of the past would not be repeated in the future, becoming a Magsaysay laureate in 2007.

His life stands as a reproach to all those who would put personal gain ahead of public service; who would lower the standards of public discourse; and who would sacrifice human rights and the rule of law either for personal or partisan advantage. He joins the ranks of those who have made the position of senator of the Republic an honorable, and respectable, thing. His passing challenges all who would seek election to live up to a life well lived as a patriot and citizen.