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Rene Saguisag, statesman and former senator, dies at 84

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Another Filipino statesman left the world as former senator Rene Saguisag passed away on Wednesday (April 24) at age 84, his family announced.

“Rene Saguisag was a dedicated public servant, and his tireless endeavors as a human rights advocate, senator, and writer stand as a testament to his unwavering commitment to justice, truth and democracy,” lawyer Rebo Saguisag, his son, posted on Facebook.

“We are grateful that, in his final months, he was able to spend time with relatives, friends, and countless supporters. He passed away knowing that he was much loved and respected,” Rebo added in the family statement.

Saguisag was born on August 14, 1939 in Mauban, Quezon. According to his profile on the Senate website, he held different odd jobs from 1959 to 1962 before embarking on a stellar career as human rights lawyer.

He was elected senator in 1987 and would serve until 1992. During this period, he worked as chairman of the Senate committee on ethics and privilege and ad hoc committee on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

In a statement, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri joined the nation in mourning the passing of Saguisag, whom he described as “a man of true honor, dignity, and integrity.”

Saguisag leaves behind a legacy of service and excellence that continues to be a benchmark for many young lawyers and public servants, according to Zubiri.

“He may have just served one term in the Senate, but his entire life was devoted to pursuing justice and fairness for every Filipino, particularly through such initiatives as the Free Legal Assistance Group,” said Zubiri.

As a member of the Senate, Zubiri said Saguisag co-authored laws that up to now uphold the highest standards in the public service.

Among these legislations were the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (R.A. 6713) and the Ombudsman Act of 1989 (R.A. 6770).

“While leaving an indelible mark as a true statesman, he also emulated and lived out the principle that those who have less in life should have more in law,” Zubiri noted.

The Saguisag family appealed for privacy as they grieve the passing of their patriarch.

“We will soon announce details of the service honoring his life, and we look forward to the opportunity to gather and pay tribute to a life lived with integrity and purpose. Papa/Lolo has passed on, but his spirit will continue to inspire us to strive for a more just world,” Rebo said.

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