Gov't officials pay tribute to ex-Senate president Edgardo Angara

MANILA, Philippines – Government officials and other personalities paid tribute to former Senate president Edgardo Angara, who died on Sunday, May 13, from an apparent heart attack.

Angara was hailed as a distinguished statesman who pushed for key laws, with Malacañang saying that his "contribution to nation-building was immense."

Below are the tributes for Angara.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

We mourn the sudden passing of one of our great leaders and statesmen, Senate President Edgardo Angara, who died at age 83.

Senator Angara has served the Philippines in several administrations and in various capacities, the last of which was as Special Envoy to the European Union under the Duterte administration.

Mr Angara's contribution to nation-building was immense and his name will always be prominent in the pages of our country's modern political history. He will be missed.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano

In behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs, I join the Filipino nation in mourning the passing of former Senate President Edgardo J. Angara, one of our country's foremost statesmen. 

Senate President Angara had deep ties with the Department during his long and storied career in the Senate, most notably when he served as Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations from 1997 to 1998.

For a brief time, Senate President Angara was with us in the Foreign Service as Special Envoy to the European Union. His discussions with European parliamentarians played an important role in preserving our GSP+ status with the European Union, providing special status for our exporters of designated products.

Being instrumental in the designation of June 30 as Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day, Senate President Angara was a tireless advocate for the preservation and appreciation of our Hispanic legacy as an essential element of Filipino history and culture.

On a personal note, I grew up with Tito Ed and his family. We Cayetanos share fond memories and life lessons from our experience together with the Angaras. 

Having also worked with him in the Senate for 6 years, I will always remember him with deep respect. It is through Senate President Angara's work and accomplishments that young legislators such as myself became more determined to work hard for the country and our people. 

My thoughts and prayers are with my former colleagues in Congress, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara and Representative Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, and to the family of the late Senate President Angara.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III

I join my colleagues and the whole nation in mourning the passing of former Senate President Edgardo J. Angara, a true public servant and a pillar of the Senate. I likewise extend my condolences to Senator Sonny and the Angara family on this sad day.

It is difficult to quantify the contributions of one of the giants responsible for nurturing democracy in the years following the EDSA Revolution. Our institutions are the product of the hard work and brilliance of Senator Angara and the leaders of his generation, and millions of our countrymen are beneficiaries of his belief in the power of education to improve lives and drive national development.

Senator Angara was an educator, lawyer, and legislator with few peers; leaders of his caliber are a rare breed, and getting rarer still, and he will truly be missed.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III

I'm so saddened by his passing. [He] was one of my mentors and LDP (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino) party mate. We campaigned together in 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2007. I'll never forget the times he would challenge me to debate Senator Joker [Arroyo] almost every time Joker rises.

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV

Our deepest condolences and prayers go out to the family of Senator Ed Angara.

We always appreciated Tito Ed's ready advice and guidance for us younger public servants.

We will do our best to continue many of his reforms for the education sector.

May his soul rest in peace.

Senator Nancy Binay

I am deeply saddened by the untimely passing of former Senate President Edgardo J. Angara, the father and namesake of my seatmate, Senator Sonny.

Senator Ed distinguished himself in his decades-long service to our kababayans (countrymen) and our country: president of the University of the Philippines System, executive secretary, a 4-term senator, and special envoy to the European Union.

Nakikiramay at nakikidalamhati ako sa pamilyang Angara, lalung-lalo na kay Senator Sonny (I extend my condolences and I share the grief of the Angara family, especially Senator Sonny). My thoughts and sympathies are with you on this sad day.

Senator Francis Escudero

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.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

I join the entire Filipino nation in mourning the passing of a venerable statesman and our longtime family friend, former Senate President Edgardo "Ed" Angara.

Senator Ed will always be remembered as a trailblazer in education reform. The visionary laws he championed during his 23 years as senator – such as the Free Public Secondary Education Act of 1988 and the charters of CHED and TESDA – revolutionized our education system by opening up exciting new learning opportunities for millions of underprivileged Filipinos whose right to education had long been neglected. The legacy of Senator Ed as a true champion of the people's right to education will continue to serve as an inspiration for me and like-minded education advocates who endeavor to continue his noble work.

More than anything, though, I will remember Senator Ed for his gracious character as a public servant. Throughout his esteemed career, Senator 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.

Senator Loren Legarda

We lost a great man, a visionary, an indefatigable worker, esteemed public servant, deep thinker, one of the Philippines' most brilliant minds, a dear friend. Ed, may you rest in peace.

Senator Francis Pangilinan

Our deepest sympathies to the family of former Senate President Edgardo Angara for their loss. SEJA, as he was known to many, was one of the senior legislators we looked up to in the Senate.

My first encounter with him was when we both sat as members of the University of the Philippines 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. One law we worked together on was 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.

Godspeed, SEJA!

Senator Joel Villanueva

An outstanding leader, statesman, lawyer, banker, farmer, patron of the arts, and educator, former Senate President Edgardo Angara was a notable man who pushed for landmark legislations on education, healthcare, agriculture, and social welfare. His legacy will be forever carried on through the lives of our countrymen.

SEJA was my biggest mentor and inspiration since I joined 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 Senator Sonny Angara and his entire family during this extremely difficult time.

Rest in peace, SEJA.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri

I'm so sad to hear the passing of the county's great statesman, Senator Edgardo Angara. He was an educator, legislator, Senate president and possibly one of the best presidents we could have had.

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 Senator 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. I was his partner when we both authored the renewable energy law, MINDA law, National Heritage Act, to name a few, and sponsored them together on the plenary floor.

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.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista

I am deeply saddened by EJA's passing. He guided me through my political journey. Ang dami niyang advice sa akin (He gave me plenty of advice) from the time I was vice mayor until I became mayor of Quezon City. He was such a wise man who never seemed to mind sharing his knowledge.

Privacy Commissioner Raymund Liboro

It is with a profound sense of loss that we, at the National Privacy Commission, convey our condolences to the family of the late Senator Edgardo J. Angara.

He had binoculars trained to the future and throughout his lifetime championed the country's competitiveness in education, agriculture, health, science and technology and the protection of the Filipinos' well-being in today's digital age.

Millennials owe Senator Ed Angara a debt of gratitude for ensuring them a more protected future through his authorship of 21st-century laws like the Cybercrime Prevention Act and the Data Privacy Act.

He was a visionary and he will be missed.

European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen

I am saddened to hear that Senator Ed Angara, a statesman and a good friend, has passed away. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Ed was a great patriot and a true friend of the EU.

Lawyer & former Philippine Stock Exchange president Francis Lim

SEJA or Ed, as we fondly call him, was a great visionary and indefatigable public servant. He was a legislator who shunned grand standing and focused his time and energy at passing high-impact legislation like the free public high school education law, senior citizens act, agriculture and fisheries modernization law, PhilHealth Act, and the TESDA law to name a few.

I had the pleasure of working with Ed for the country when I was president of the Philippine Stock Exchange. Not known to many, he principally authored capital market-related laws like the Personal Equity Retirement Account Act (PERA), Credit Information System Act (CISA), Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act (FRIA), and the still-to-be implemented Real Estate Investment Act (REIT Act).

On a personal note, Ed was ninong to me and my wife Edy and we join the country in expressing our prayerful condolences to the Angara family who lost a great and loving patriarch. –