MANILA — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Wednesday led the Senate in honoring the life and accomplishments of the late Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., who was hailed as the father of the Local Government Code of 1991 and the Organic Act of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
During the necrological service held at the Senate Session Hall, Sotto extolled Pimentel’s sense of social justice, courage, and law-making ability.
“If social justice, courage and the crafting of laws were to assume a human form, in all probability, that person would be Senate President Aquilino ‘Nene’ Pimentel Jr.,” Sotto said.
He said the former Senate President formed the PDP-Laban Party to advocate societal and structural reforms for the uplift of the common man.
Pimentel also demonstrated his willingness to risk life and liberty during the tumultuous ’70s up to the early ’80s — dangerous times when he perceived a tendency of government to attain full control of the state.
“He wore his several imprisonments record as a badge of honor in the service of the poor, the downtrodden and the victims of state power,” Sotto said.
He noted the many laws that Pimentel authored, foremost among them the landmark Local Government Code that devolved power to the local government units.
“He was also the spirit behind the crafting of the basic law on Muslim Mindanao, and was at the forefront of the discussion and debate towards the adoption of the federal form of government,” Sotto said.
The incumbent Senate President attributed his leadership skills to his experience in working with a number of his models and icons in public service in the Senate.
“Right there in the group of my top mentors would be Senate President Nene Pimentel, whose humility, simplicity of style and decorum make us all proud that we are his friends. To him the term statesman would be more appropriate, rather than a politician,” he said.
“Senate President Nene Pimentel, Jr., salamat po sa pamanang kaisipan na ngayon ko lang nabatid: puede naman palang pumasok sa pulitika, at mamaalam ng marangal pa rin (thank you for the philosophical legacy that I have known only now: that you can enter politics, but still leave with dignity intact),” Sotto said.
For Senator Pia Cayetano, she would always remember Pimentel, not with the grand things that the elder statesman did, but with the former Senate leader’s kindness, humility, and compassion.
“For what is greatness without kindness? Without humility? Without compassion? Traits I saw in my seatmate and mentor for many years,” she said.
“Beyond the brilliant legislator and defender of democracy that he was, I got to know the kind and gentle person who was a loving husband and father… who was great in the big ways and marvelous in the small ways that made him human and beloved to those of us whose lives he touched,” Cayetano said. Jose Cielito Reganit / PNA – northboundasia.com