On Sunday, October 20, Senator Koko Pimentel confirmed in his Twitter post the death of his father, former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Jr.
The battle against lymphoma
“Tatay was sick of lymphoma which is a form of cancer. This already spread throughout his body,” Senator Koko said.
“In the end it was the heart which gave up,” he added.
The head of the Pimentel clan died six days after he was put in the ICU (intensive care unit) last October 14.
The former senate president despite his illness continued to appear in conferences and accept interviews mostly about the topic he likes the most, federalism.
His dream of a federal Philippines
Pimentel was known as one of the primary supporters of federalism. He was acknowledged by the senate as the “Father of Local Autonomy” who authored the Local Government Code of the Philippines, RA 7160, that granted greater powers to local governments in the year 1991.
In fact, he’s already had the idea of giving more political powers to local governments as early as the 1980’s when he’s still the mayor of Cagayan de Oro.
Furthermore, from his days as a senator, he filed a joint resolution during the 14th Congress for the establishment of a federal system in the Philippines. Just a year ago, as a member of the Consultative Committee, he pushed the idea of creating an electoral process for a federal constitution. However, upon the forming of the 18th Congress, the process was put on hold.
Pimentel served as the Senate President from November 2000 to July 2001. He’s also part of the upper chamber for three different terms. Moreover, he sits alternatingly between Senate Minority Floor Leader and Senate Majority Floor Leader from July 2001 to August 2002.
He founded the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino in 1982 and merged with Lakas ng Bayan which the late former senator Benigno Aquino Jr. founded in 1986. Thus, the merging was now more known as the PDP-Laban party.
Outpouring condolences to the Pimentel family
Government officials, many from national sectors and incumbent senators, immediately expressed their condolences to the Pimentel family upon knowing the sad news.
Presidential Spokesperson regarded the late senator left behind a “long, fearless and principled track record of public service.”
In a statement, the palace said, “He would forever be etched in our history as a giant among his peers who championed democracy and electoral reform and a visionary who espoused devolution of powers and strong local governance.”
Vice-President Leni Robredo described the good public servant, “He was kind, a true gentleman, and principled amid many challenges we faced as a nation.”
Incumbent Senate President Tito Sotto, who served as majority leader under Pimentel’s leadership as the senate president regarded the late senator as his idol, “I feel like I lost a close relative and not just a friend. I was his majority leader when he was Senate President and we were very close. He was my idol!”
Opposition senators Kiko Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros also paid their respects.
Senators like Miguel Zubiri, Richard Gordon, Joel Villanueva, Panfilo Lacson, Bong Go, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Sonny Angara expressed their condolences as well.
Chief Justice Reynato Puno who vows to make Pimentel’s vision of a federal Philippines a reality praised his companion. “The best tribute we can give to Nene is to work harder for federalism… his last advocacy for a better Philippines.”
Even the Communist Party of the Philippines also offered their condolences saying, “The Filipino people and youth thank him for keeping alive memories of past struggles. His life story inspires the people in their present resistance to tyranny.”
Foreign Affairs Chief Teddy Boy Locsin remembered Pimentel’s fight for democracy. “His face best expressed what our country was going through while the idiot majority professed sexual ardor for the dictator,” he said.
Source: CNN Philippines