DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Various groups and individuals paid tribute of former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., who passed away at the age of 85 on Sunday, October 20.
Pimentel’s death was announced by his son Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III through his Facebook page.
“Our beloved Tatay Nene has joined his Creator at 5 am today Oct 20, 2019. We thank all those who have been a part of his life. We ask for prayers for the repose of Tatay Nene’s soul. Thank you to all,” posted the senator.
‘Staunch rights defender’
Human rights group Karapatan remembered Pimentel as a public servant “who stood for human rights and national sovereignty.”
Last September, Pimentel were still able to serve as a resource person to the public inquiry by Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on the attacks against human rights defenders. Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay recalled that Pimentel “staunchly asserted that no one should be persecuted for defending human rights.”
Also, Pimentel stood against the dictatorship of late President Ferdinand Marcos and the political rehabilitation of the Marcoses.
Human rights advocates has also found ally in Pimentel against the Human Security Act, and its grave impact to civil liberties and people’s rights.
He was also one of the senators who who voted for the removal of US military bases in the Philippines.
“We thank Ka Nene for his service to the Filipino people, as we battle with the current challenges to people’s rights and democracy,” Palabay said.
Meanwhile, members of Makabayan bloc condoled with the passing of the late Pimentel.
House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said that the passing of Pimentel is a big loss to the country. “His life must be known and followed by all, especially to those in the government,” he said.
Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares also said, “Sen Pimentel is a sterling example of a public servant who stood up for what is right even if it meant going to jail for several times.”
“We hope that more government employees and officials will be more like Senator Nene, who puts the nation’s interest first,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said, “We, the Filipino youth, marching for a better future alongside the people, will forever be grateful for his manifold contributions to defending democracy and sovereignty, and upholding human rights and good governance.”
‘A friend of PH revolution’
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) also extended its condolences to the family and friends of the late senator.
The CPP called Pimentel as “a patriot, a democrat, and friend of the Philippine revolution.”
The former senator was detained several times during Marcos era, and accused of helping the underground movement.
“We appreciate him for steadfastly opposing attempts to distort Philippine history and depict Marcos as a hero. Like the rest of the Filipino people, we thank him for keeping alive the spirit of anti-imperialist and democratic struggles. His life and heroic example inspire all of us to fight the Duterte tyranny,” CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison said in a separate statement. (davaotoday.com)