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House pays tribute to late Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Padilla

The House of Representatives on Thursday paid tribute to the late Nueva Vizcaya governor and former lawmaker Carlos "Caloy" Padilla by recalling his generosity and brilliance in public service during a requiem mass and necrological service held in Batasang Pambansa.

Speaker Martin Romualdez of Leyte, in his eulogy on Padilla delivered by House Deputy Speaker Camille Villar of Las Piñas, described Padilla as “a seasoned, accomplished statesman who elevated the standards of public service" by promoting education, culture, and environment.

"He pushed for free education, modernization of certain professions in the country, and the preservation of the Filipino language and culture. He was an ardent advocate for the promotion of the rights of the poor and the disadvantaged, as well as called for the protection of the environment and the prohibition of discrimination on employment,” Romualdez said.

“Honorable Padilla returned to his roots and pursued the gubernatorial post to further express his unwavering dedication. His election for three terms as governor spoke of the high level of trust and confidence placed in him by his constituents. He was particularly averse to large-scale mining in his province and stood against huge mining companies. What he achieved in his lifetime is a legacy of selflessness, dedication, and integrity,” Romualdez added.

Former Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of Quezon City, for his part, recalled how Padilla helped him win his first Speakership bid back in 2001 when Congress’ composition suddenly changed after then President Joseph Estrada left Malacañang and was succeeded by Gloria Arroyo.

“In 2001, during the most crucial moments of the 11th Congress when I ran as Speaker, his friendship and support was pivotal in securing our victory. As a recognition of his leadership, we elected Caloy as Deputy Speaker for Luzon,” Belmonte added.

Belmonte said Padilla’s stint as a lawmaker also helped Congress shepherd “life-changing pieces of legislation from 2013 to 2016."

“Soft spoken but firm, Caloy commanded respect from his fellow legislators here in the House,” Belmonte added.

Others who paid tribute to Padilla were former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo, veteran lawmaker Edcel Lagman, House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan, Senator Robinhood Padilla, among others.

In response, Padilla’s wife Ruth said his husband’s tenure in the House of Representatives was fruitful, memorable, and wonderful, and that the late lawmaker was always generous in imparting knowledge to younger lawmakers.

Padilla died of a heart attack last May 5. He was 78 years old.

Aside from his wife, the late governor Padilla is survived by their children, Jojo, Ruthie Maye, and Carlo Paolo. —VAL, GMA Integrated News