CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — The oldest media organization in the country joins the entire nation in mourning the death one of its own, former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. who died Sunday, Oct. 20.
Based on the roster of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club Inc. (COPC), Pimentel was an honorary member, although it has not yet been established what year he was accepted into the Club.
But according to COPC’s records, it was Pimentel who signed an executive order declaring every 4th week of May as the Press Freedom Week during his time as the city’s mayor in 1982, at the height of Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship.
Since then, the COPC has been observing the Press Freedom Week for 37 years.
“Pimentel is remembered as a great statesman and a leader who fought for the restoration of democracy during the darkest hour of Martial Law in the ‘70s and ‘80s,” said incumbent COPC President Ritchie Salloman, in a statement issued Monday evening.
“As a fighter of press freedom and himself a lifetime member of the COPC, we take pride in SP Pimentel as the son of Cagayan de Oro and the icon of Mindanao leaders,” he said.
“No amount of words of sorrows could define the passing of the man who became one of the pillars of democracy and freedom that the country’s forefathers have passed on their people and the generations to come,” Salloman added.
Meanwile, the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (Carmma) in a separate statement also mourned the passing of Pimentel, who they called as the “staunchest critic of the Marcos dictatorship.”
“He showed his steadfast commitment to the Filipino people during the Martial Law years of Marcos, and was jailed four times for opposing the Marcos dictatorship,” the group said.
“Ever vigilant, Sen. Pimentel had been one with [Carmma] in opposing and exposing the attempts of the Marcoses to revise history and return back to power in Malacanang,” it said.
In memory of the deceased lawmaker, the group said it “pledges to continue the fight against the suppression of civil liberties and basic freedoms, against the return of the Marcoses to power, against the revisionism of the history of our people’s fight against the Marcos’ dictatorship and in pursuing a vision of a government that truly serves the people.” (davaotoday.com)