MANILA - (UPDATE) Senators mourned the death of the upper chamber's former sergeant-at-arms Jose Balajadia Jr., who died of heart failure early Sunday.
Sen. Richard Gordon described Balajadia as a "decent and extremely competent man."
"He was a good friend and our partner in the Blue Ribbon Committee and was very instrumental in ensuring the safety and security in the Senate," Gordon said.
"Kate and I not only extend our condolences to General Balajadia’s family, but join them in their grief and sorrow."
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, thanked Balajadia for his service during the "most difficult time" of the Senate, citing the arrests of detained Sen. Leila de Lima and former Sen. Antonio Trillanes III.
"It is now our time to say 'All rise' for a man of passion and dedication," he said.
"Our deepest sympathies to the family of the longest-serving Sergeant-at-Arms in the history of the Philippine Senate. Saludo sa mandirigmang Igorot."
The Department of National Defense also extended its condolences to the family of Balajadia.
"The Department of National Defense extends its heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of retired Major General Jose V. Balajadia, Jr., who passed away this morning," Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.
Prior to his role as the Senate's sergeant-at-arms, Balajadia served as an officer and pilot for the Philippine Air Force.