FORMER and incumbent senators paid tribute to their late colleague Sen. Ernesto Maceda on Thursday.
The remains of Maceda, who passed away Monday, arrived at the Senate at around 4 p.m. and was escorted by his family and other senators to the session hall where the necrological service was held.
Among those who came to pay their last respects to the man who spent five decades of his life as a public servant were Senate President Franklin Drilon, Senate Minority Floor Leader Juan Ponce Enrile and senators Serge Osmeña, Gringo Honasan, Joseph Victor Ejercito, and Nancy Binay.
Also present were former Senators Luisa “Loi” Ejercito, Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Santanina Rasul, Nikki Coseteng, Rene Saguisag, Francisco Tatad, Victor Ziga, Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., Wigberto Tañada, Orlando Mercado and Freddie Webb.
Drilon presented Maceda’s family with a Senate resolution expressing the profound sympathy and sincere condolences of the Senate on the death of the great statesman.
The resolution stated that Maceda had distinguished himself as a tireless bureaucrat and principled lawmaker who placed the interest of the nation above all else.
“His passing away is a great loss not only to his bereaved family but to the nation as well,” it added.
In his eulogy, Drilon commended Maceda as one of the most widely respected names in Philippine politics, saying that the late senator was an “intellectual giant who carved his own remarkable niche in the world of politics, diplomacy and media.”
“In his five decades of dedicated public service, Manong Ernie took on different roles that showcased his brilliance, professionalism, work ethic, organizational skills and political savvy,” he said.
Maceda, according to the senate president, will be remembered for being one of the “Magnificent 12,” the senators who voted to reject the US Bases extension in the Philippines.
Tatad praised Maceda’s dedication in crafting laws and giving himself totally to the nation.
“He was uncompromising and he was firm but never mean-spirited. He exposed many wrongs or wrong-doers to bring about changes but never used the exposes for his own personal use,” Tatad said.
Saguisag remembered Maceda as being one of the electrifying influences in the Senate.
“He was helpful to me and to the other neophytes in finding the ropes in lawmaking,” he said.
Mercado on the other hand described Maceda as diligent and industrious.
Enrile for his part said that the late senator provided voice to the voiceless and served with genuine patriotism and dedication to the Filipinos.
“We remember Ernie for carrying the torch of truth and righteousness, for having been a constant reminder that patriotism should never be hallow, pretentious or self-serving,” Enrile said.
Maceda served as senator from 1971 to 1972, 1987 to 1992 and 1992 to1998. He was elected Senate President from 1996-1998, Senate President Pro Tempore from 1992-1993 and former Minority Leader in 1998.
He also served as a cabinet member, and as ambassador to the United States from 1999 to 2001.