Former Senate President Jovito Salonga died on Thursday (March 10) at age 95. He is a known nationalist and a statesman.
Salonga first became a lawmaker in 1961 when he was elected to represent Rizal province in the House of Representatives. He became a senator in 1965 until 1971, when he was seriously injured in a bombing incident while attending a political rally at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila.
He was a human rights lawyer during martial law and was briefly imprisoned in 1980 by President Ferdinand Marcos for his alleged involvement in a plot to bomb Metro Manila.
After the 1986 EDSA Revolution which saw the overthrow of Marcos, Salonga was appointed head of the Presidential Commission on Good Government by President Corazon Aquino and was tasked to recover the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.
In 1987 he was again elected to the new Philippine Senate and became its president. To the admiration of the entire nation and in complete defiance of Ms. Aquino, Salonga led this law making body in rejecting the RP-US bases treaty in 1991. The treaty aims to extend the presence of American military bases in the country.
Salonga ran for president in 1992 but lost to Fidel Ramos, the US trained head of the notorious Philippine Constabulary during the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship. He thus became known as the president that the Philippines never had. He retired from politics thereafter and devoted himself to nationalist causes and activities.
Salonga is survived by his 5 children — Patricia, Victoria Regina, Ricardo, Esteban Fernando, and Eduardo.