Statement of Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto, 20 October 2019

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The courage of Senator Nene’s convictions

While others sought comfort in numbers, Nene drew strength from his convictions.


He was a maverick who could not resist a good fight, many of which by his lonesome, for he believed that one man with courage was enough to make a majority.

And he paid dearly for being true to his principles and to his people.

He spent years in prison for fighting for the freedoms which were taken from the people he loved.

And later in his checkered career, his incurable independent streak lost him the chance to acquire greater power, for he refused to compromise the values he never sold.

But it is wrong to paint the man solely as a great dissenter.

He was also a great builder – of local autonomy, of just peace among a people fatigued of war, of grassroots democracy, of Mindanao development, of ethics in public service.

Many laws of the land have been enriched by the wisdom he selflessly shared. He acted as the people’s watchman in the Senate who guarded their interests, often as a one-man checkpoint who shone a lantern on the bills before they were passed.

He was able to notch an impressive scorecard of laws because he had the courage to speak and the wisdom to listen. Nene was a sensei to many legislators in that bygone era when true grit was measured by hard work and not by likes, shares, and followers.

The republic is diminished by the death of this great patriot.

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