Senate honors former Senators Arroyo, Herrera

The Senate today adopted two resolutions expressing its profound sympathy and sincere condolence on the death of two of its former members, labor leader Senator Ernesto "Boy" Herrera and human rights lawyer and activist Senator Joker Arroyo.

Joker Arroyo
Senate Resolution No. 1612, honoring the memory of Arroyo, was adopted in consideration of Senate Resolution 1624, Senate Resolution 1638 and Senate Resolution 1640. The resolutions were authored by Senators Nancy Binay, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., Senate President Franklin Drilon and Manuel Lapid respectively.

Senate Resolution 1639, expressing sympathy and condolence on the demise of Herrera, was adopted in consideration of Senate Resolution 1646. The resolutions were authored by Drilon and Binay respectively.

Drilon said the deaths of Herrera and Arroyo were a great loss not only to their bereaved families but to the nation as well.

Senate Secretary Oscar Yabes said the Senate will hold a necrological service for Herrera Wednesday morning, November 4. Senators, to be led by Drilon, together with Herrera's children and relatives, will escort the casket bearing the remains of the former senator to the Senate Session Hall in Pasay City around 9:40 a.m.

Yabes said Drilon, Deputy Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III , Senator Loren Legarda and former senators Edgardo Angara, Ernesto Maceda, Heherson Alvares and Jose Lina Jr. will deliver eulogies for Herrera at 10 a.m. The Senate will present a copy of Senate Resolution No. 104 to Herrera's family. After the ceremony, Herrera's remains will be brought to Cebu, his hometown.

Drilon delivered a eulogy for Joker Arroyo during the launching of the year-old Senate centennial anniversary celebrations last month.

Resolution 104 lauded Herrera, who succumbed to heart attack last October 29, as "a great leader and a public servant who led a life dedicated to promoting the welfare and protecting the rights of the working class."

Drilon noted that Herrera dedicated his professional life to the cause of labor and his role in organizing the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP). Herrera served as the workers' representatives in a number of government institutions and councils both here and abroad.

"Committed to fight for the cause of Filipino workers here and abroad, Herrera became the only Filipino member of the executive board of the International Federation of Free Trade and Union from 1988 to 1992. He served as consultant on worker's education of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland, and headed the Workers' Delegation to the 75th Session of the International Labor Organization where he delivered a major address on human rights," the resolution said.

"For his earnest efforts to alleviate the plight of the masses, the giant of Philippine labor earned the rare distinction of being the first Asian and the second individual to receive the 1985 George Meany International Human Rights Award," the resolution added.

Drilon's resolution also said that as a senator from 1987 to 1998, Herrera focused on labor, employment, education, and law and order, and authored 20 landmark pieces of legislation during the 8th and 9th Congresses, most notably Republic Act 8042 or the "Migrant Workers' Act of 1995," which undoubtedly has been benefiting 10 million Filipino migrants across the globe."

Herrera first gained national prominence as a member of the Agrava Fact Finding Board that investigated the 1983 assassination of former Senator Beningo Aquino Jr. He also served as Representative of Bohol's first district in the House of Representatives from 1998 to 2001.

Meanwhile, Resolution 103 commended Arroyo's life and legacy as "a human rights lawyer, freedom fighter, street parliamentarian, Congressman and Senator of the Republic." Arroyo died on October 5, 2015 at the age of 88.

Drilon, who served with Arroyo as fellow Cabinet members during the Cory Aquino administration, recalled that when Martial Law was declared in 1972, Arroyo emerged as "the very first lawyer to challenge the legality of the act under the 1935 Constitution before the Supreme Court."

The resolution stated that Arroyo, who first became a lawmaker as a member of the House of Representatives from 1992 to 2001, was "best remembered for registering a 100 percent attendance record during his three terms, for being the most frugal member of Congress which earned him the monicker "Scrooge of Congress,"and for being consistently voted by the media as Outstanding Congressman of the Year."

"As member of the Senate who served for two consecutive terms from 2001 to 2013, he was popularly known as the only other senator who did not use his P200 million annual Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) thus saving taxpayers P2.4 billion throughout his 12-year stint in the Senate," the resolution said.

For Arroyo's significant contributions to the law profession and public service, he received various awards and commendations, notably from the Philippine Bar Association as the Most Distinguished Award for Justice for being "a man beholden to no one except his country," according to the resolution.