'Not for self, but for country': Lawmakers urged to emulate Nene Pimentel

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 21 2019 10:40 AM

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MANILA - Lawmakers should emulate the statesmanship of the late former Senate President Nene Pimentel, who was a "model public servant," one of his colleagues said Monday.

Pimentel was always "focused" on serving the people, according to human rights lawyer and former senator Rene Saguisag, who served alongside Pimentel.

"He’s really a super role model, na always kapakanang pangbayan, hindi kapakanang pangsarili," he told ANC's Early Edition.

"Non sibi sed patriae, not for self, but for country, that was a type of man Nene was."

Saguisag cited instances when Pimentel did not compromise his ideals, including his four arrests under the Marcos dictatorship and when former President Corazon Aquino asked them to vote for the extension of US bases, which they rejected.

"He could have compromised his ideals but never did he sell out," he said.

"Younger ones should go by the stars that Nene Pimentel and (Lorenzo) Tanny Tañada pointed to, if we are really to have again the reemergence of the 1986-87 EDSA spirit, people asking what we could do for the country, not what the country could do for us."

Pimentel fought hard for his advocacy, including human rights, to the very end, Saguisag said.

"It was at the time na he was weakened physically but were he stronger I think he would have joined who are openly against the lack of respect for human rights and dignity," he said.

"Di na siya makasama sa amin sa pagdefend ng mga kaso but to the end I can really believe that he never backtracked on his stand on basic human rights."

The ruling party PDP-Laban, a merger between Pimentel's Partido Demokratiko Pilipino and slain Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.'s Lakas ng Bayan, has "no similarities" with the party in its early stage in the 80s, according to Saguisag.

"Wala nang similiarity I can see between the PDP-Laban as conceived in the early 80s and the PDP-Laban today. Maraming dapat mapuna, quiet lang sila eh," he said.

"Imagine, power-sharing sa House, that is against public policy, you cannot bargain public office."

The term-sharing agreement in the House of Representatives was proposed by President Rodrigo Duterte himself, which allows Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano to serve as Speaker for 15 months, followed by Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco for 21 months.

Saguisag said there should have been "a little subtlety or finesse to honor the basic principle of separation of powers."

Duterte, who faces complaints at the International Criminal Court for alleged human rights violations, would not have qualified for PDP-Laban membership, Saguisag added.

"He would not have qualified for membership as originally envisioned, which gave importance to human rights," he said.