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‘Di malilimutan: Drilon says Ed Angara’s contributions to PH will be felt by all Pinoys

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The sterling accomplishments of the late former Senate president Edgardo Angara in the fields of politics, public service, law, and the academe “cemented his niche” in the nation’s life and history.

This was how Senator Frank Drilon paid tribute to Angara during his eulogy for the latter at Wednesday’s necrological service for his friend of almost 50 years.

Angara, 83, died of heart attack on Sunday at his Tagaytay resthouse. Drilon was with Angara in Tagaytay together with their friends and colleagues hours before the latter died on Sunday.

“The impact of the laws he authored, such as the Free High School Act, the Senior Citizen’s Act, Philhealth Act and many more, will be deeply felt and appreciated by generations of Filipinos,” he said.

He said that Angara’s “journey on earth was marked by his courage and determination to pursue his vision for our country, as well as his deep reservoir of ideas on how to uplift the lives of our countrymen.”

“Our country may have lost one of its brilliant minds and illustrious sons, but I am certain that Ed’s legacy is cradled in the bosom of a grateful nation,” Drilon said.

He admitted that Angara, had a “major influence” in his professional and political life. “It is not a secret that he was a major influence in my professional and political life.”

“In his lifetime, he enriched many lives, including mine. Ed (Angara) was a jewel of a friend–a man who had my highest respect and admiration,” the Senate minority leader said.

He said that Angara’s passing came as a shock to him. “When I first heard the news, it felt like the rug was pulled out from under my feet,” Drilon recalled.

“I am privileged to have known him, to have laughed, walked and worked with him. It is not easy to bid him farewell, but I find comfort in the thought that his was a life well-lived,” he said.

Drilon said that Angara still had so many plans for his country, which led him to kid that he needed 100 more years and live up to 183 years old to ensure they all came to fruition.

He said Angara was “many things to him, admitting, therefore, that it would be impossible to summarize his friendship and the memories he had shared with Angara for almost 50 years in a short speech.”

Drilon recalled that it was Angara who invited him to join ACCRA law, a law firm that Angara put up along with prominent lawyers.

“We were not only fraternity brothers, we also worked together – from ACCRA to the Senate–and shared countless milestones,” he said.

“It was Ed who invited me to join ACCRA. He convinced me that since ACCRA was a new firm then, it would offer bigger opportunities for me. As Ed promised, working in ACCRA was indeed an excellent career move,” he said.

He recalled that when he was first elected senator in 1995, there was a change of leadership in the Senate, with Angara, who was then Senate President, being replaced by Sen. Neptali Gonzales.

“With nary a thought of my nascent political career, I threw my full support to Ed,” said Drilon, saying that it caused him to lose a committee chairmanship.

He then joined the opposition group in the Senate, called the “Conscience Bloc,” along with Senators Angara, Blas Ople, Kit Tatad, Juan Flavier, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Drilon also supported Angara when he ran for Vice President in 1998 under Erap Estrada.

“Our friendship transcended political colors and affiliations, even if sometimes, we found ourselves opposing each other and sitting in opposite political fences. Once he even tried to depose me as Senate President. But, the friendship remained,” he said.