Press Release
June 23, 2016

Eulogy of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon
Necrological service for former Senate President Ernesto Maceda
June 23, 2016
Senate of the Philippines


My esteemed colleagues, Mrs. Maceda, the children, grandchildren and other members of Senator Ernesto Maceda's family, friends, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

With profound sadness, today we remember the life and work of one of the widely respected names in Philippine politics, former Senate President Ernesto Madarang Maceda.

I share the immense grief of his loved ones, friends, and the people whose lives he had touched in his lifetime. Indeed, our collective sorrow is beyond words.

Manong Ernie blazed trails in the fields he pursued. He was an intellectual giant who carved his own remarkable niche in the world of politics, diplomacy and media.

In his fifty years of dedicated public service, Manong Ernie took on different roles that showcased his brilliance, his professionalism, his work ethic, his organizational skills and political savvy.

He was a highly-esteemed member of the post-EDSA Senate because of his thoroughness and resourcefulness in crafting laws. I remember I was then in the Cabinet when Manong Ernie was already a senior member of the Senate. The talk among the Cabinet members was, "Sino ang chairman mo?" when the budget hearings would come. The unwritten question was, "Si Senator Maceda ba ang chairman ng committee mo?"

Why? Because Ernie was one of the most thorough and feared senators when it came to budget hearings.

Maalala ko noon noong when I was a Labor Secretary of Labor, kung ang sinasabi ni Senator Greg, he would rather have a thousand root canals without anesthesia, I confirm that. Indeed you would rather have that, than face Ernie in budget hearings.

I remember then, Manong Ernie- wala pa noong mga laptop eh - mayroon po siyang blue na record book wherein he would write all your answers to his questions, and make sure because in the following session he would look back to those answers that you gave in order to test whether or not you are saying the same thing. I hope that Jim Paul here kept all of those blue books that Ernie had during all those times.

I remember the first time I stepped on the hallowed halls of the Senate, together with Greg here, as a freshly-minted Senator. Manong Ernie was already a legend who captured the nation with his political feats.

I am proud and honored that once, in this august chamber, we have shared ideas and debated on the smoldering issues of the day.

Yes, Kit Tatad mentioned that no Senate President could be installed without the knowledge and management of Ernie Maceda. Indeed, that is true, but when his time came to be Senate President, I tell you, he was not the fearless Mr. Expose that we knew him.

I remember very well on October 10 of 1996, maybe Greg here signed that piece of paper in the toilet, but in the Senate that piece of paper is not enough. You must vote in open session according to what you signed. I remember that afternoon, Greg went somewhere, I do not know where - I think it was on a plane somewhere - and we were only 12, and for about an hour we were closeted in one room, namumutla si Manong Ernie, hindi niya malaman kung saan nagpunta si Greg Honasan, who was the 13th vote at that time. But Greg came, and affirmed his signature in that piece of paper he signed at the toilet at that time, and Ernie Maceda became our Senate President.

In his lifetime, Manong Ernie had traversed different career paths and left an indelible mark. As a senator, he will be remembered for being one of the "Magnificent 12" -- the Senators who voted to reject the US Bases extension. His relentless pursuit of excellence and truth earned for him the nickname, "Mr. Expose."

As Ambassador to the United States of America, he worked hard for the entry of the sweet Guimaras mangoes in the American market. And for that, the people of Western Visayas owe him one.

Manong Ernie was the only Filipino who held five Cabinet positions.

Much has been said about his sterling achievements. However, Manong Ernie's highly accomplished children who have all excelled in their chosen fields are his greatest treasures.

Manny, Ernest, Erwin, Edmond and Edward, your Dad was a tough act to follow. But I am certain that he was mighty proud of the persons that you have all become.

Manay Ichu, thank you for sharing Manong Ernie with all of us in the Senate.

Today, we bid goodbye to a statesman and highly-esteemed colleague. But his life and work will always be remembered and enshrined in the political annals of our country.

Paalam Manong Ernie at maraming salamat!

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