MANILA, Philippines (Updated 5:09 p.m.) — The Senate has adopted a resolution commending weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz who won the Philippines its first Olympic gold medal on Monday night.
Diaz at her fourth Olympics ended a 97-year drought for the Philippines, ruling the Women's 55kg event and setting an Olympic record of 224kg in total.
At least eight senators have filed resolutions seeking the Senate's recognition of her efforts. At a plenary session on Tuesday afternoon, they voted to adopt Senate Resolution 793, filed by Senate President Vicente Sotto, taking into consideration all other similar resolutions filed.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who filed Senate Resolution 799, said "Diaz has brought joy, honor and pride to the country and has lifted the hopes of an entire nation amid the uncertainties and challenges that we face today."
Sen. Manuel Lapid in a statement in Filipino said he filed Senate Resolution 800 to "recognize the great hardship and sacrifice she went through just to raise the flag of our country at the Tokyo Olympics and in every competition she participates in."
"[Diaz's] odyssey starting as a little girl lifting plastic pipes and homemade concrete weights cast in old tin cans to her moving victory in Tokyo should serve as a reminder of every Filipina's resilience in the face of adversity perseverance despite uncertainty, and strength against all odds," Sen. Risa Hontiveros said in Senate Resolution No. 798.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri along with Sens. Juan Edgardo Angara and Francis Tolentino in a statement said they recently filed a resolution "that seeks to establish the Philippine Senate Medal of Honor award in recognition of outstanding athletes, uniformed personnel, scientists, and exceptional individuals or institutions for their extraordinary service and invaluable contributions to nation-building."
"[T]he resolution recognizes the extraordinary efforts and contributions of outstanding individuals or institutions in various field of expertise that 'served as a symbol of hope to the Filipino nation,'" they added.
Malacañang's questionable 'matrix' revisited
"Despite being linked in 2019 to alleged destabilization efforts, Diaz remained focused on her goal of bringing honor [to] her beloved country," Drilon also said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon in Senate Resolution No. 799 said "Diaz has brought joy, honor and pride to the country and has lifted the hopes of an entire nation amid the uncertainties and challenges that we face today." @PhilstarNews pic.twitter.com/VT7VR29W5R— Bella Perez-Rubio (@BellaPerezRubio) July 27, 2021
He was referring to Diaz's inclusion in Malacañang's alleged "ouster" matrix floated by then-presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo in 2019.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III at the time said Diaz and celebrity newscaster Gretchen Ho would "never" be destabilizers. Sen. Panfilo Lacson similarly remarked then that Diaz clearly has no time to destabilize a government.
Hontiveros also alluded to the incident in her own resolution, lauding Diaz for rising above "with grace and dignity" despite being "saddled by uncalled for political controversy."
Malacañang on Monday night congratulated Diaz for "bringing pride and glory to the Philippines." Roque at his regular briefing Tuesday distanced himself from the Palace's supposed "ouster" matrix, even though he now represents the office that released it.
— Bella Perez-Rubio with a report from Luisa Morales