Ex-presidents Estrada, Arroyo: Ed Angara's work 'larger than life'

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Two former presidents honored the late Senate president Edgardo Angara, citing his illustrious career and “larger than life” work.

Former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, both former senators, delivered their eulogies for their former colleague on Wednesday, May 16, at the Senate Session Hall.

Estrada recalled how he chose Angara to be his running mate in the 1998 presidential elections – which the latter lost to Arroyo. Under the administration of President Joseph Estrada, Angara became agriculture secretary from 1999 to 2001, and then executive secretary in 2001.

“I had high hopes for our team in the 1998 presidential election. Alam kong maasahan ko ang kanyang katapatan, talino, at galing, at maging ang kanyang hangarin na maiangat ang mga Pilipino mula sa kahirapan. Salamat Ed (I knew I could rely on his honesty, intelligence, and excellence, and even his desire to lift Filipinos from poverty. Thanks, Ed),” said the Manila Mayor.

Estrada also praised the late senator’s work in the area of education.

“I admire Ed for many things. Pero higit pa diyan, noon at ngayon tinuturing kong napakalaking karangalan na nakilala ko siya at naging kaibigan….Salamat sa paglilingkod at pagmamahal sa bayan (But more than that, then and now I consider it a great honor to have known him and to be his friend. Thank you for the service and love for country). You will be missed,” he said.

Arroyo, for her part, recalled how her father, former president Diosdado Macapagal, already saw the bright future of Angara duing the 1971 Constitutional Convention. At the time, Arroyo said his father was the chairman of the Con-Con.

“He was a young delegate when my father identified him as one of the youngsters with a bright political future,” Arroyo said.

She  also praised Angara’s excellent and “well thought-out” legislation and work, saying they are “larger than life.”

“Edgardo Angara was a giant among legal luminaries and a skillful public servant. He wore many hats and he wore them well,” Arroyo said.

“The impact of his principled work is larger than life – on the old and the young, students, farmers, economy and education,” she added.

She specifically thanked Angara for sponsoring in 1991 the law for the rehabilitation and assistance for the victims of the Mount eruption Pinatubo in Pampanga, Arroyo’s province where she is now a congressional representative.

She also referred to the former senator as her “kind and mild-mannered” mentor and said some of his works steered her administration’s economic agenda.

Arroyo and Angara served in the Senate together. Angara also ran and won under Arroyo’s senatorial slate in 2007.

“When Ed became Senate president in 1993, I supported him. When he led the minority in 1995, I was one of those in his bloc,” Arroyo said.

Prior to his death, President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Angara as Special Envoy to the European Union. He died on Sunday, May 13, due to apparent heart attack. He was 83.

Angara’s interment has been moved to Tuesday, May 22, in Baler, Aurora, the office of Senator Sonny Angara announced on Friday. Public viewing in Baler starts Saturday, May 19. – Rappler.com


Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com