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Salonga tribute in Sydney

Tributes to Sen. Salonga by PH Community in Sydney

The Best President the Philippines Never Had.  Philippine Bar Topnotcher. The Nation’s Fizcalizer. Magsaysay Awards recipient.
And more nomenclatures were attributed to the late former Philippine Senate President  Jovito Salonga during a solemn and moving  memorial last Sunday evening 20 March 2016 in Sydney, four days after his remain  buried in a memorial park in Pasig City in the Philippines.
Called “Tribute to Sen. Jovito Salonga” the memorial  featured testimonies, readings of published articles about him, news  and interview video clips and deeply touching reminiscences by relatives, and in particular by Philippine Consul General Anne Jalando-on  Louis.
Consul Jalando-on Louis related her admiration of the Senator Salonga drawn from her own family newspaper clippings and her dad’s story about great Filipino leaders in government as well as in personally meeting  him and discerning his humility, in facilitating foreign affairs business for Sen. Salonga, by that time already an icon in Philippine politics..
The memorial was held at the FCF Life Centre in Minchinbury in Western Sydney, coordinated by friends and family circle of the Senator’s niece Ms. Bless Salonga, a long time Sydneysider. Prominent Filipino community leaders participated in the ceremony which was presented in a fusion of video clips, personal testimonies, patriotic and Christian songs, and readings of published articles and commiserations by Philippine government officials and still  living colleagues.
Senior Pastor Rudy Tan of FCF Life Centre delivered the pastoral memorial message.
Sen. Salonga etched a brilliant achievements as a  young World War II guerrilla in Rizal province, later on Philippine Bar topnotcher in Laws, one-time  promising U.S. scholar and expert on International Law, a respected Member of the Philippine House of Representatives, and twice topnotcher in Philippine senatorial elections. Until his horrific injury suffered in a grenade blast during an election rally in 1971 now infamously called “Plaza Miranda Bombing , Sen. Jovito Salonga was pictured by many as charismatic and gifted parliamentarian in prime of life who at one time loomed as  one the country’s best prospects for presidency.
Sen. Salonga ran for president in 1992 in a field of seven prominent candidates, but landed sixth place. Prior to that he served an illustrious career as Senate President whose term displayed his unwavering display of nationalist agenda and statesmanship. Salonga’s continued to serve to the nation in civilian capacity leading and coordinating a number of NGO causes up to his twilight years. He received the Magsaysay Awards which is  Asia’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
Global Filipinos Australia president Atty Lolita Farmer OAM of North Rocks read a number of  messages of commiseration from Philippine government officials and former colleagues  including one from Philippine presidential spokesman Secretary Edwin Lacierda.
For her part, the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisation (APCO)  leader Dr. Cen Amores  of Auburn read a moving testimony by Sen. Salonga’s protégée and former Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (PHILSEC) chief  Perfecto Yasay.
EMANILA online services proprietor Mr Romy Cayabyab of Minchinbury gave a comprehensive picture of Sen. Salongas parliamentary career, including Salonga’s crucial vote during the Philippine Senate’s consideration on the continuance of American military bases in the Philippines. Sen. Salonga also headed a government inquiry with the aim of recovering the ill gotten wealth by the late Philippine strong man Ferdinand Marcos.
Other speakers were Ms Violi Calvert, Ms. Michele Baltazar, and Marc Anastacio. Invited to perform songs were Pody Bartolome, Marcus Rivera, Andrew Baris, and Charles Chan.
In all the testimonies and readings, the miracle of Sen. Salonga’s survival from the horrific Plaza Miranda Bombing in Manila in 1971 figured prominently. and his continued service to the country thereafter revealed  his high standards, noble  qualities and worthy character  political leader.
Admittedly, the memorial revealed so much more about the late Senator including the deep seated Christian values of humility and being able to forgive.
In her own testimony herself, Salonga’s niece Ms Bless Salonga revealed  how her uncle continued to help her family after the untimely demise of her dad and  showed in another crisis a very poignant illustration of forgiving Christian attitude in his advice to approach with understanding the  case of an underprivileged houseboy who criminally offended the family.