By Ellson Quismorio
House Speaker and former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo paid sweet tribute Sunday to the late former speaker Prospero Nograles, whom she described as a person who was much loved by those he had worked with.
“It was my honor that he was Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2010 during my Presidency. I recall how much he was loved, not only by his fellow Congressmen but, just as important, by the staff of the House whose welfare he cared so much about,” Arroyo said in a statement.
“We will miss him,” added the current Speaker, who attended the flag-draping ceremony on Nograles’s remains at Heritage Park, Fort Bonifacio, BGC, Taguig City Sunday morning. Also witnessing the rites was House Secretary General Dante Roberto Maling.
Nograles, fondly referred to as “Nogie” and “Boy” by his friends, passed away Saturday while surrounded by family members. He was 71.
“Former Speaker Prospero Nograles succumbed to respiratory failure, secondary to pneumonia,” bared PBA Party-List Rep. Jericho Nograles, his son, on Sunday.
“A bar topnotcher, he served for a long time in Congress. He was a very helpful to me when it was my task as Undersecretary of Trade and Industry to navigate our department’s relations with Congress,” further recalled Arroyo, who was received at the wake by the elder Nograles’s other son, Cabinet Secretary and former Davao congressman Karlo Nograles.
The Philippine flag was flown at half-staff at the House of Representatives Sunday in honor of the late former speaker.
It was also learned Sunday that the Lower Chamber would hold a Requiem mass and necrological services for Nograles from 9 a.m. to 12 noon Tuesday at the session hall. From there, his remains will be flown to his hometown of Davao.
It will have been the second necrological service to be held at the House of Representatives this year, following that of AKO-Bicol Party-List Rep. Rodel Batocabe’s.
The Nograles patriarch made headlines when, in late 2015, he set aside his family’s bitter political rivalry with the Dutertes in order to back then-Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s bid for the presidency. Mayor Duterte ended up winning the 2016 Palace race via landslide.
Born on October 30,1947, Speaker Nograles was a consistent honor student from his elementary days at the Ateneo de Davao until he finished his bachelor’s degree (AB Political Science) at the Ateneo de Manila in 1967.
He pursued law at Ateneo de Manila and graduated in 1971, the same year when then-President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. He took the bar a year later and landed number two on the list of top ten barristers with an average of 90.95 percent.
Nograles first won a House seat as Davao City lone district representative in 1987.
In 1992, Nograles set his eyes for the mayoralty post but was defeated by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. He staged another political comeback in 1995 when he won back his congressional seat only to be defeated again in 1998 when he made another attempt to run for mayor.