Press Release
May 16, 2018

Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri Eulogy for Senator Edgardo Angara

How do I put into words to describe the life of an exceptional educator, a prolific and hardworking lawmaker, a true renaissance man, a cultural heritage protector and one of the country's greatest statesman?

I know many of you here today would describe his different career paths as University of the Philippines (UP) President, a distinguished lawyer who founded one of the top law offices of the country, producing several political heavyweights such as Sen. Drilon, Sen. Gordon, the late Sen. Cayetano and Sen. Raul Roco, to name a few.

Many of us know him as former distinguished Senate President, Former Secretary of Agriculture, and most recently, as our country's top diplomat, representing us at the European Union.

One thing for sure is that whatever post he held, he did so with distinction and with exemplary performance.

He was, without a doubt, one of the most intelligent persons I had ever met and had the extreme honor to work with. Given the chance, he could have been one of the finest presidents our country could have ever had.

Many of you know him as SEJA. I simply called him, Tito Ed, my mentor and one of my two father figures that I look up to here in the Senate - the other being Senator Richard Gordon.

That is why in 2009, one of my most difficult moments as a majority leader was when Tito Ed and Tito Dick had a heated argument in the session floor due to the insistence of Tito Dick wanting to give friendly interpolation to the bill being defended by SEJA at that time.

I remember Sen. Angara telling me, "Bakit pa magtatanong si Dick?", considering the fact that they were close. And knowing the legendary tempers of Sen. Ed and Sen. Dick, they were going at each other in no time.

Of course, as Majority Floor Leader, I quickly suspended session and let their tempers cool off. Unfortunately, their little spat turned their friendship into indignant displeasure and resentment. Not minding each other for several days, and even weeks to come.

That was a stressful time for me as my two tatays were at odds with one another. So I reached into my trove of diplomatic skills and one afternoon, on our way to lunch, I spoke to Tito Ed inside his car and said to him that "Malungkot si Tito Dick dahil hindi na daw kayo nag-uusap." This softened his heart and he then replied, "Is that so?" He said to me, "Eh alam mo naman Migs, mahal ko yang si Dick at dapat magtulungan kami kaysa mag debate. Sige, kakausapin ko siya mamaya."

I then immediately sought out Sen. Gordon to tell him, "Ninong, kausap ko si Tito Ed kanina and he told me that mahal ka naman niya at hindi na dapat kayo makipag debate." With this, Tito Dick then told me, "Really? Eh, masyadong mainit ang ulo niyo but sige, I'll talk to him later."

That afternoon session became one of the most memorable sessions of my senate career, not because for the first time I saw an Upsilonian hug a Sigma Roan, but because I saw two great senate statesmen bury the hatchet not just for the good of the senate but for the good of their friendship.

Friendship meant a lot to Tito Ed. When I entered the senate for the first time in 2007 as a neophyte, he immediately took me in and mentored me on the ins and outs of this hallowed institution. He taught me almost all I know as a legislator in this upper chamber. Although I was already a nine year veteran of the House of Representatives, he nonetheless taught me that it was completely different here in the senate. How each one of the senators were unique and to an extent, independent, hence the moniker, Independent Republic.

How important it was to have a block, hence the start of our Triumvirate with Senator Gordon. But most of all, he always told me to focus on passing important pieces of landmark legislation that would make the most impact for the country.

He would always tell me not to waste energy picking fights, engaging in endless investigations, or dwell on controversies.

He always said, "Migs, the quality of the legislation that you will sponsor and pass will be the one that defines you."

And to the this day, I religiously practice his mantra of hard work, dedication and having laser focus when it comes to the passing of landmark legislation.

That's the Angara way.

While others would love to hog the limelight by creating conflict and controversy, Sen. Angara would be mostly standing up on the floor, day after day, until the late hours of the night, sponsoring measures such as the;

- Free High School Act
- Creation of the Commission for Higher Education
- Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act
- Procurement Reform Act
- Senior Citizens Act
- National Health Insurance Act (or Philhealth Act)
- Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE)
- Laws creating the National Museum, NCCA.

As well as my favorites, which I am honored that we co-sponsored together such as the RE (Renewable Energy) Law and the MINDA Law.

He authored so much high impact landmark pieces of legislation for our nation.

That is the Angara way.

In closing, I just want to finally share what he would confide in me in our several trips together, as he made me his favorite travelling companion during official missions abroad.

He would confide in me that one of his biggest regrets is that he didn't spend as much time with his family. On how he wished he was there more often for his children growing up, rather than always being so focused on work.

To you Sonny, he loved you very much and he was so proud of you. And in a way, these last few years, he tried to make up for it by spending more time with his apos and taking them to trips to make up for lost time serving our people.

Truly, he loved his family, he loved his country, but most of all, he loved this institution.

Last Thursday, out of the blue, he sent me text message to ask, "Migs, how is our beloved Senate?" Showing genuine concern and love for the hallowed institution he spent close to 3 decades of his life in.

All I can say, Tito Ed, is it has been an honor to have worked beside you and be mentored by you in the Senate. I am what I am here today because of what you taught me and the impact you have created in my life.

I will forever be grateful and will miss you terribly.

So long Sen. Ed Angara, one of the true great statesman of our country.

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