Zeneida “Nini” Quezon Avanceña, daughter of former president Manuel Quezon, passed away on Monday, July 12. She was 100 years old.
Her son, Ricky Avanceña, said on Facebook on Tuesday, July 13, that her “mom passed peacefully as her children surrounded her, reading psalms from the bible and praying the rosary.”
“An agent of light, of all things good and just, promoter and advocate of human rights, equality, social justice, land reform and freedom from oppression and poverty, has passed on to eternity,” he added.
Her death was also announced by two of her grandchildren through separate public Facebook posts on Tuesday.
Her nephew, historian Manuel Quezon III, wrote that his aunt “passed away surrounded by her children, at home, achieving one of the devoutest wishes of the faithful – a true Christian death, at peace with her Maker and the world.”
Avanceña was born on April 9, 1921. She was the second of four children of president Quezon and his wife, Aurora.
Beyond being a presidential daughter, Avanceña is remembered as a human rights advocate, especially during Martial Law under Ferdinand Marcos.
She was co-founder of the Concerned Women of the Philippines (CWP), one of the groups who openly criticized the dictatorship.
In a Philippine Star column last April, former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo recalled Avanceña’s visit when he was a political detainee at the Bicutan Rehabilitation Center during the Marcos years.
“Kapit-bisig kami ni Tita Nini noong student activist pa ako sa panahon ng martial law (We worked together when I was a student-activist during Martial Law),” Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement.
“She lent her name and gravitas to difficult valuable causes, including those of political detainees, she made such an impact,” he added.
After the People Power Revolution that toppled the dictatorship, Avanceña was appointed by then-president Corazon Aquino as member of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights in March 1986.
The committee, chaired by Diokno, was created prior to the 1987 Philippine Constitution that created what is now known as the Commission on Human Rights.
In a Newsbreak article in 2005, Filomeno Sta. Ana III said Avanceña “has been praised or criticized for her demanding standards and high principles.”
“Even in electing public officials, she does not compromise,” Sta. Ana wrote. “She is a tireless campaigner for principled and progressive politics.”
Avanceña is survived by her 9 children. – Rappler.com