The House of Representatives has mourned the loss of former Senate President Jovito Salonga, whom it described as a staunch defender of our freedoms and a “bastion of Philippine democracy.”
Salonga died on Thursday, March 10, 2016. He was 95.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. led the House in mourning the death of Salonga, whom he said was a man of “many things,” but was perhaps best known for casting the deciding vote that led to the closure of the American military bases in Clark and Subic 25 years ago.
The full statement of Speaker Belmonte follows:
“My colleagues at the House of Representatives, my family and I are deeply saddened by news of the death of Jovito Salonga this afternoon. He was 95.
“Jovy was a close family friend of our family and of my late wife Betty Go Belmonte's family. We considered him as a ninong.
“Jovy can be considered a bastion of Philippine democracy who has served this nation and staunchly fought for our freedoms in various arenas and in various capacities.
“He was the 14th President of the Senate during the term of President Corazon Aquino, following his impressive leadership and accomplishments as the 1st Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
“Jovy was many things. He was a World War II hero incarcerated and tortured by the Japanese; a noted constitutionalist who topped the bar in 1944, received a law scholarship and doctorate in the US and yet returned to the country to participate in the country's recovery after the war.
“Jovy was also a survivor of the infamous Plaza Miranda bombing in 1971.
“Throughout his life -- as lawyer, congressman, senator and Cabinet secretary-- as well as through his brave battle against Marcos during the Martial Law years, Salonga remained focused on his goal to attain and safeguard democracy in the Philippines.
“We condole with his family and feel the loss not only of one of the founding fathers of the Liberal Party but of this nation. We owe a debt of gratitude to Jovy for dedicating his talents, bravery and his life's work to the Filipino people. He is a tough act to follow and a source of pride for us.
“Paalam muna Uncle Jovy at tauspusong pasasalamat sa lahat.”