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Senators mourn passing of Angara: Great statesman, visionary, humble public servant

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Senators mourn the passing of former Senate President Edgardo J. Angara, who died from an apparent heart attack Sundaymorning.

Sen. Loren Legarda described Angara as one of the Philippines’ most brilliant minds.

“We lost a great man, a visionary, an indefatigable worker, esteemed public servant, deep thinker, a dear friend. Ed, may you rest in peace,” said Legarda.

Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri who had a chance to work with the late lawmaker in previous congresses, said Angara was one of the senior legislators they looked up to in the Senate.

“My first encounter with him was when we both sat as members of the University of the Philippines (UP) Board of Regents in 1986. He was UP president and I was chairman of the UP student council. Little did we know that 15 years later, we would be colleagues in the Senate, pushing for causes we believed would better our country and the lives of our countrymen,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan said he managed to work with Angara on the Judiciary Compensation and Modernization Act which increased the judges’ pay in order to fill the many vacancies in the judiciary and consequently speed up the wheels of justice.

Zubiri recalled being Angara’s partner in pushing for the enactment of the Renewable Energy law as they were both its authors in the Senate as well as the MINDA law and National Heritage Act.

“I’m sad as he was my adopted Father and mentor in the Senate and almost everything I know about legislating in the upper chamber came from (the late) Sen. Angara. He taught me to focus on the important pieces of legislation that would make the most impact for the country rather than picking fights and taking on controversies,” Zubiri said in a text message to reporters.

“He was one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever worked with and he made the most impact in my career in the Senate. Today is truly a sad day for the Philippine Senate and I am honored to have had a chance to have served with such a distinguished public servant,” he said.

A great statesman, Angara was possibly one of the best presidents the country could have had, Zubiri added.

“We mourn the loss of an excellent lawyer, dedicated educator, esteemed former colleague in the Senate and patriot. I most respectfully convey my sincerest condolences to his bereaved wife, children, family and loved ones,” Escudero said.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, a contemporary of Angara’s son in the House of Representatives, Sen. Sonny Angara, likewise considered the late lawmaker as his biggest mentor and inspiration in public service.

“He treated me like his own son. I am out of words to adequately express the sorrow I feel at this moment. My thoughts and prayers are with my brother Sen. Sonny Angara and his entire family during this extremely difficult time,” he said.

Sen. Win Gatchalian said the former lawmaker was a long-time family friend.

A trailblazer in education reform, Gatchalian said Angara revolutionized the education system in his 23 years as senator.

“More than anything, though, I will remember Sen. Ed for his gracious character as a public servant. Throughout his esteemed career, Sen. Ed maintained a deep sense of humility and dedication to public service that endeared him to the people. His celebrated legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of a grateful nation,” he said.

Sen. Nancy Binay said the late Senate chief distinguished himself is his decades-long service as former UP president, executive secretary, a four-term senator and special envoy to the European Union (EU).

“I am deeply saddened by the untimely passing of former Senate President Angara, the father and namesake of my seatmate, Sen. Sonny. Nakikiramay at nakikidalamhati ako sa pamilyang Angara, lalung-lalo na kay Sen. Sonny. My thoughts and sympathies are with you in this sad day,” she said.

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