By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) senators and members mourned on Wednesday the passing of business tycoon and political figure Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr.
Cojuangco, founder and chairman emeritus of the NPC, died of pneumonia and heart failure on Tuesday night. He was 85.
“I join the nation in mourning the passing of a titan in Philippine business and politics,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The passing of our NPC chairman, Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco Jr., leaves a big hole in our hearts,” he added.
Sotto paid tribute to Cojuangco, who, he said, “lived an extraordinary life, a successful man who wore many hats as he made waves in the business sector and splashes in public service.”
“The vast ocean of entrepreneurship and political leadership will never drift as suavely and smoothly without his engaging presence,” he added.
Sotto, a senior leader of the NPC, said the legacy and vision of their “big boss” will continue.
“The Sotto clan mourns the loss of a mentor and beloved friend. Salamat sa lahat lahat, Boss Danding,” he said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, also an NPC member, said he was saddened by the passing of Cojuangco, who, he said, served as his mentor when he was starting as a public servant.
“His passing leaves us with a sad void. He was considered to be one of the country’s most successful industrialists,” he said.
“I have been with the NPC since the start of my political career and I witnessed how he has shaped, over decades, the ideals and objectives of the party that centered on love for country. He treated us like family and I will remain grateful for his support,” Gatchalian added.
Former senator and Sorsogon Governor Francis “Chiz” Escudero also extended his sympathy to Cojuangco’s loved ones.
“My sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of Boss Danding. My prayers go out to ECJ and to all of you during this time of sorrow,” Escudero posted on Twitter.
Senator Grace Poe, who was considered as an NPC “honorary member,” also honored Cojuangco.
“Mr. Danding Cojuangco always looked for ways to empower communities. He opened up opportunities for pervasive success as he believed deeply in the capabilities of Filipinos,” Poe said.
“We are saddened by his passing, but we celebrate a legacy, too, of the man behind iconic Filipino brands, who, in so many ways, gave his share to make our country better,” she added.
Ex-senator JV Ejercito also grieved the business tycoon’s death.
“Woke up to very sad news earlier. My Ninong Danding Cojuangco passed away. He is a very nice person with a kind heart. [He was] Super nice to me. He will be missed,” he tweeted.
Cojuangco, who had just celebrated his birthday last June 10, was chairman and CEO of San Miguel Corporation.
In 1992, he founded the NPC, and ran against Fidel V. Ramos in the presidential race in the same year.
The NPC is considered to be the largest political party at present.
Before his presidential bid, Cojuangco also served as Tarlac City governor and later, 1st District Representative. He was also known for being a close ally and political adviser of then President Ferdinand Marcos.
Read more: Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco Jr. dies, 85