Thursday, March 10, 2016

To Jovito Salonga, the best president we never had, rest in peace.

May the soul of former Senate President Jovito Salonga rest in peace.

An icon of democracy, Sen. Salonga helped in the restoration of Philippine democracy before and after EDSA I.

We recall his role, assisted by former Senate President Neptali Gonzales, in the preparation of the 1986 Revolutionary Constitution and, subsequently, in paving the way for the creation of the 1986-1987 Constitutional Commission.

We recall that he prepared E.O. No. 1 and E.O. No. 2, S. 1986, creating the PCGG, the issuance of which was the first official act of Cory Aquino right after EDSA I. The first priority of Cory's revolutionary government was to recover the ill-gotten wealth of Marcos and his cronies worth billions of US dollars. Sen. Salonga was the first PCGG chairman. 

We recall that it was under his able leadership in the Philippine Senate in the early 1990s that the RP-US Military Bases Agreement was revoked as an assertion of Philippine sovereignty by the Filipino people.

A distinguished legal scholar who took post-graduate law courses in America and an expert in Public International Law and Private International Law, Sen. Salonga served in the 1950s-1960s as the dean of the Institute of Law of FEU, our law alma mater. (In the 1970s-1980s, Sen. Neptali Gonzales also served as law dean of FEU)

We had occasions in mid-2000s to participate in the conventions and workshops held in FEU under the auspices of the justice system-related non-governmental organization led by Sen. Salonga (who was assisted by former Chief Justice Art Panganiban, the first Chief Justice produced by FEU).

As far as we are concerned, Sen. Salonga was "the best president of the Philippines that we never had". (He lost to Pres. F. V. Ramos in 1992).

We pray to him and we invoke his intercession to watch over the Philippines and its people from his new abode in the world of the divine.

- Atty. Manuel J. Laserna Jr.  
Professor of Law, FEU (ret.).