Former Senate sergeant at arms Balajadia dies

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – Former Senate sergeant at arms Jose Balajadia Jr died on Sunday, July 7. He was 75.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III confirmed Balajadia's death to reporters.

"He passed away at 2:15 am this morning. He was suffering from a number of ailments lately. Prostate was one big problem," Sotto said in a message.

A former Philippine Air Force official, Balajadia served as sergeant at arms from 2002 until his resignation last June 30.

"It is now our time to say 'All rise' for a man of passion and dedication," said Senator Francis Pangilinan in a statement on Sunday.

"Our deepest sympathies to the family of the longest-serving sergeant at arms in the history of the Philippine Senate," Pangilinan added. 

Senator Grace Poe said that "while our hearts are heavy, they are also filled with gratitude."

"Thank you for keeping us always safe in the Senate, General Balajadia," said Poe.

The Department of National Defense (DND) also expressed condolences to Balajadia's family.

"[Major General] Balajadia dedicated his life in service to our country and people through his 38 years of active duty as an officer and pilot of the Philippine Air Force, and as the Senate's sergeant at arms since 2002, after retiring from the AFP in 1999. He served his country well. May he rest in peace," said DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong.

'All rise'

Balajadia was present during the critical moments in the chamber.

His "All rise" line made its mark during the 2012 impeachment trial of former chief justice Renato Corona.

He also prevented Corona from leaving the chamber during a standoff in the trial.

It was also Balajadia who escorted opposition senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV when they were arrested in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Balajadia, upon Sotto's orders, ensured the safety of Trillanes inside the Senate. He also prohibited the entry of arresting officers, following President Rodrigo Duterte's order to revoke Trillanes' amnesty. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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