WITH the passing of former Senate president Edgardo Angara, the Philippines has lost a true son who had carved for himself an enviable law career, while also serving as a preeminent educator and the voice of reason on many polarizing social issues Filipinos faced.
To say that the pride of Baler, Aurora will be sorely missed is an understatement because as a statesman and true leader of men, Angara had always managed to provide a steadying hand and calming presence amidst adversities.
Angara, 83, died from an apparent heart attack, according to his son, Senator Sonny Angara. Public viewing of his remains was held starting at 2 p.m. yesterday at Chapels 6 to 9 of the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City.
First coming to public attention as a member of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, Angara could have contented himself with a lucrative legal practice having founded the ACCRA Law Offices with his classmates.
In 1975, Angara became president of the Philippine Bar Association and in 1979 headed the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. A year later in 1980, Angara became the founding president of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Law Association.
Angara could have rested on his laurels as a legal eagle, but no, public service beckoned to him and in the coming years till his demise, he donned many hats all for the purpose of serving the Filipino people.
Angara served as president of the University of the Philippines fron 1981 to 1987 during which he championed the state university’s tradition of dissent and upheld its reputation for academic excellence.
As senator from 1987 to 1998 and as Senate president from 1993 to 1995, Angara pushed the passage of laws that created the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Angara also played major roles in passing the Health Insurance Act, Senior Citizens Act, the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (AFMA), the Renewable Energy Act, and the Procurement Reform Act, as well as the laws that created the National Museum and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
He joined the executive department, becoming agriculture secretary from 1999 to 2001, and then executive secretary in 2001 under the administration of then President Joseph Estrada. Angara then relaunched his political career to get elected to the Senate from 2001 until his retirement in 2013.
In all, former Senate president Edgardo Angara not only lived a full life, but one that was dedicated to public service for which generations of Filipinos are thankful for.