MANILA – Former Senate President Jovito Salonga passed away on Thursday. He was 95.
Incumbent Senate President Franklin Drilon confirmed this in a press statement.
”It is with deep sorrow that I join the entire nation in mourning the passing of former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga. I send my sincere condolences to his family even as I pray that the Lord will strengthen them as they go through this sad and difficult time,” Drilon said.
According to the reports, Salonga died at 3 p.m. after three years of battling Alzheimer’s disease.
He was elected to the Senate three times, topping the race in 1965, 1971, and 1987. He served as Senate President from 1987 to 1992.
In 1992, he ran but lost in the presidential race won by former President Fidel V. Ramos.
In his Twitter account, Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te described Salonga as “the best president we never got.”
Salonga, a stanch opposition during the regime of former President Ferdinand Marcos, was among the victims of the Plaza Miranda bombings in 1971.
Nine people were killed when two hand grenades were thrown on stage during an opposition party rally and Salonga was rendered blind in one eye and deaf in one ear.
Salonga defended political prisoners detained without charges after Martial Law was declared in 1972.
Considered as champion of democracy, Salonga entered politics when he first served as representative of Rizal province.
He was the first chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) which was created to recover the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos and his cronies.
Salonga was also part of the “Magnificent 12” senators who voted to reject the Philippines’ military bases treaty with the United States in 1991.
In 2007, Salonga awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service for his exemplary integrity and substance of his long public career in service to democracy and good government in the Philippines. Jelly Musico/PNA