Former Senate President Nene Pimentel remembered as a fighter, nationalist
Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., an stalwart of federalism, passed away on Sunday. Photo
Former Senate President Nene Pimentel remembered as a fighter, nationalist
Rosette Adel ( - October 20, 2019 - 11:05am

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2, 12:23 p.m.)—  Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., a stalwart of federalism, passed away on Sunday. He was 85.

His son, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III announced the news on his social media account.

"Our beloved Tatay Nene has joined his Creator at 5 a.m. today October 20, 2019, " Sen. Pimentel said.

"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," he added.

The Pimentel kin early this week sought prayers after the patriarch was taken to the hospital for difficulty in breathing. He found to have pneumonia.

'A steadfast advocate of true reforms'

Following his death, several officials expressed sympathies and gave tribute to the late senator.

The members and staff of the consultative committee to review the 1987 Constitution said it is deeply saddened by the passing of Pimentel, one of the crafters of the ConCom draft Bayanihan Federalism Consitution.

Pimentel previously served as a member of the ConCom and its vice chair.

“Senator Pimentel was not just a public servant. He was, above all, a steadfast advocate of true reforms and real change, a defender of the rights of all, a man of humility honesty and integrity, a constitutionalist and a great Filipino and patriot,” the ConCom said.

“The Filipino nation will forever be grateful to Senator Pimentel for his unselfish service and great sacrifice. He will surely be missed, but his legacy will live on and continue to inspire Filipinos in seeking and aspiring for a better nation for themselves and their children,” it also said.

Palace likewise mourned the passing of Pimentel.

“Today is a sad day for the nation. The Palace joins the Filipino people in mourning the demise of former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. and expressing condolences to his family, loved ones, colleagues and friends,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo said the Duterte administration is grateful to former Pimentel for joining the government as a member of Consultative Committee designated by President Rodrigo Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution and draft a new charter that would pave the way for a federal form of government.

“Our people thank former Senator Pimentel for his long, fearless and principled track record of public service. He would forever be etched in our history as a giant among his peers who championed democracy and electoral reform and a visionary who espoused devolution of powers and strong local governance,” Panelo said.

“As we pay tribute and honor to this respected and courageous statesman, we fervently pray for the Almighty to grant Senator Nene eternal repose. May the perpetual light shine upon him,” he added.

Vice President Leni Robredo also said the country lost one of its last statemen.

“He was kind, a true gentleman, and principled amid many challenges we faced as a nation. Our deepest condolences to his wife, Bing, his children, and all his loved ones,” the vice president said.

For its part, the European Union said it considered Pimentel as “a father of Local Government Code.”

“We mourn the passing of Sen Aquilino 'Nene' Pimentel. He was a great partner and friend of the EU . A father of the Local Government Code, the EU family shall always remember him and his legacy. We send our love and prayers to  @SenKokoPimentel & to all the Pimentel family,” the EU said.

Panelo said that a father of Local Government, Pimentel gave wisdom and lent his voice to the need to empower local governments.

Meanwhile, colleagues of Sen. Koko also condoled with the Pimentel clan.

“My six years with him from 1998 to 2004 were very educational for me not only in politics but also in family matters. My family and I loved him!” Senate President Tito Sotto said.

"Today, our country has lost a true patriot, a freedom fighter, and a champion of democracy, human rights and local governance," Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said, adding Pimentel "fought for our country with honor and pride"

“'I’ve been there before in the Senate, like you. And it’s so difficult to be a minority, but regardless... keep fighting,' Senator Nene Pimentel told me early last year. This is how I will always remember the Father of the Local Government Code: A FIGHTER. Salamat, Ka Nene; mahal Kita,” Sen. Risa Hontiveros said.

“I am very sad for the loss of a great Filipino Statesman who fought and risked his life for the many advocacies that he believed in. 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,” Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

“Former Senate President Nene Pimentel was a man of great honor and integrity. I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family,” Sen. Win Gatchalian said.

"A principled leader, patriot, statesman. Senator Nene always kept watch and put himself on the line for the sake of the Filipino people. Our heartfelt prayers are with his family," Sen. Grace Poe said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said of Pimentel, whom he characterized as the "bravest, unfailingly honest public servant I know," that "[w]e launched his as 'the face of martial law;' knight of the doleful countenance—not so much as a direct victim of tyranny (which he was) but because his face best expressed what our country was going through while the idiot majority professed sexual ardor for the dictator."

“Bayan pays tribute to Sen. Nene Pimentel who fought the Marcos dictatorship and who was among the Magnificent 12 senators who voted against the retention of US bases in our country. He stood for human rights, good governance and national sovereignty. Salamat, Ka Nene,” Bayan Muna Secretary General Renato Reyes said.

Pimentel, founder of the current ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino in 1982, served as the Senate president from November 2000 to July 2001.

He was a senator for three terms from 1987 to 1992, 1998 to 2004, 2004 to 2010.

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