By Gabriela Baron
Senators mourned the passing of former Senate President and democracy stalwart Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. who passed away on Sunday. He was 85.
The news of Pimentel’s passing was confirmed by his son Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Facebook.
“Our beloved Tatay Nene has joined his Creator at 5 a.m today October 20, 2019,”
The senator also thanked those who have been part of his father’s life.
“We ask for prayers for the repose of Tatay Nene’s soul. Thank you to all,” the younger Pimentel ended.
In a statement, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said “it felt like he lost a close relative.”
“My 6 years with him from 1998 to 2004 were not very educational for me not only in politics but also in family matters,”
Sotto also added that Pimentel was his “idol.”
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said Pimentel is a great loss for Mindanao and the nation.
He added that Pimentel is “one of the great pillars of our country’s democracy in the last 50 years,”
“I’m honored to have had the opportunity to work with him in the 14th Congress and even if we had some differences then, he still treated me professionally and mentored me on the issues of human rights and above all, the rule of law,”
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said it was “an honor and distinct privilege for him to have worked with Pimentel for nine ‘colorful’ years in the Senate.”
Meanwhile, Senator Win Gatchalian remembers Pimentel’s legacy.
“Because of his landmark measure, The Local Government Code of 1991, he empowered LGUs by allowing them to create their own source of revenue. Tatay Nene Pimentel may have left us but his legacy will always remain and be remembered,”
Senator Sonny Angara said Pimentel was a “champion of Mindanao who served the nation with integrity.”
Senator Kiko Pangilinan, on the other hand, thanked Pimentel for his service to the people.
“He was indefatigable, tireless, zealous, relentless, and gracious especially to us, the next generation of public leaders,” Pangilinan recalled.
He added that he remembers Pimentel best as “the face of the courageous, determined, and principled opposition of the Marcos Dictatorship,”
“Thank you for your inspiring leadership and sacrifice during the dark days of the Marcos Dictatorship and for your friendship and mentoship during our Senate years together,” ended Pangilinan.
Senator Risa Hontiveros called “Ka Nene” as “one of the greatest defenders of freedom and democracy in the history of our country.”
Pimentel died at 5 a.m on Sunday after battling lymphoma and pneumonia.