CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – As the late Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. is laid to rest Saturday, a Roman Catholic leader is hopeful emerging politicians will follow the path of the deceased political figure in this times of repression.
Pimentel, said Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, had shown the Filipino people how to become a principled leader and an effective public servant.
“He was an opposition during the time of martial law, which shows to the young people that working for righteousness and morality are still very important in public life,” Ledesma told reporters on the sideline of the necrological service dedicated for Pimentel at the City Tourism Hall Thursday night.
Pimentel, the prelate said, was incarcerated several times during the dictatorial rule of the late Ferdinand Marcos. But despite this, he did not bend down to the powers-that-be and instead chose to be on the dissenting side even if it meant being persecuted for what he believed in.
“I call him a steadfast warrior, [who followed] a straight path in serving our country. And he did not make any political compromises. In fact, he was imprisoned four times during the martial law days because he really stood against authoritarianism,” Ledesma said.
The archbishop said he is still optimistic that younger elected officials and public servants will emulate Pimentel’s style of leadership.
“We hope there will be (new) Nene Pimentels to arise,” Ledesma said, although he noted that at present that remains elusive.
But, he added, there are local chief executives that show promise.
“We have young political leaders who are also conscientious. In fact, I would think that the new leaderships of cities like Manila or even here in Cagayan de Oro are examples of good governance,” he said.
Ledesma is referring to Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, a first-time politician who introduced some drastic measures to clean his city, and Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno, who’s now on his last term, who has built hundreds of classrooms and paved farm-to-market roads in rural villages during his watch.
Ledesma said he expects politicians to stand for what they believe in.
“I would call Nene a good example of a principled leadership. He stuck to his principles, and served our country with these,” he said.(davaotoday.com)