Former senator Maria Teresa “Tessie” Aquino-Oreta has died, her son Malabon City Mayor Antolin “Lenlen” Oreta 3rd said on his Facebook page on Friday. She was 75.
“On behalf of my family, it is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my mom at 10:48 p.m. of May 14,” the younger Oreta wrote. “Former Senator Tessie Aquino-Oreta was a public servant who devoted her life to the country and her adopted hometown of Malabon. She was a loving grandmother, mother, and wife and a friend to those whose lives she touched.”
Oreta was born on June 28, 1944 to Benigno Aquino, Sr. and Aurora Aquino. Her brother was the assassinated former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.
According to Oreta’s profile in the Senate, she finished primary school at the College of Holy Spirit in Mendiola, Manila, while she finished her high school studies at the Assumption College San Lorenzo in Makati City. In the same school, she also took up literature and history and got her International Studies degree in Spain.
She also served in the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel.
Oreta served as a congresswoman to the lone district of Malabon City-Navotas during the 8th, 9th, and 10th Congress (1987 to 1998) before becoming senator at the 11th and 12th Congress (1998 to 2004).
While at the Senate, Oreta had a Seven-Point Agenda, primarily focusing on education: The Filipino Child First, Caring for our Teachers, Governing Basic Education, Modernizing Education, Universalizing Literacy, Rationalizing Tertiary Education, and Policy Research.
She is survived by her husband and businessman, Antolin Oreta, Jr. and her four children, Rissa, Mayor Lenlen, Karmela, and Lorenzo.