Friends and former colleagues have paid tribute to ex-Senate president Jovito Salonga, as they shared memories of the revered statesman at a necrological service in Senate Tuesday.

Senate also presented the Senate Resolution no. 118 to the family of former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga to express its “profound sympathy and sincere condolence on the death of its president.”

“The members of this august chambers join the whole nation and his family in their moment of bereavement over the departure of an extraordinary leader and statesman, who served as a shepherd who eased the fears of a people transiting from dictatorship to democracy and who stood as a bright lamp that rekindled a nation’s nationalist fervor,” the resolution stated.

Before the resolution was awarded, several of Salonga's friends and colleagues of shared their memories about the late senator.

Former senator Rene Saguisag recalled the days before the People Power Revolution and underlined the cautious steps they took with then would-be president Corazon Aquino. He ended his speech by addressing his 'uncle,' quoting Ted Kennedy when he lost to Jimmy Carter: “the work goes on, the course endures, the hope still lives, and the dream, Uncle Jovy, will never die.”

Leticia Ramos-Shahani, who was a member of the 8th Congress, highlighted Salonga’s brilliance and strength of character. She said that under Salonga's watch, Senate enacted laws such as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standard for Public Officials and Employees, Anti-Coup-de-tat Act, and the Anti-Plunder Law.

Salonga’s love for country, she said, was not limited to being a legislator, saying “indeed, the life of Kumpadre Jovy, who translated his principles into daily life with unerring consistency and faithfulness, his life was his message and the song he sang was composed from his own very life.”

Her praises were supported by Heherson Alvarez, a legislator who also once worked with Salonga. He likens his superior to a debonair but more. “Gusto ko sanang sabihing si Ka Jovy ay magilas na tao, hindi lang na lalaki; ngunit kulang ‘yang papuring ‘yan,” he said. He acclaimed Salonga to be an erudite scholar, a constitutional and democratic spirit, and a mentor and inspiration to proceeding senators. Salonga, he said, is part of the freedom being experienced by every Filipino today.

Wigberto Tañada lauded Salonga on his “moral courage,” exemplified throughout the latter’s life. He called Salonga the epitome of a servant-leader. The Senate under Salonga, he said, was some of the institution’s finest hours, recalling how Salonga broke an 11-11 tie as the floor decided the fate of the US Military Treaty, making an unpopular decision.

And lose the presidency he did. But according to Tañada, it was not the end of the great man's vision of the country. He accepted defeat and writing "for if the supreme test of courage is to suffer defeat without losing heart, the greatest test of faith is to suffer lose without giving up our vision for tomorrow—the vision of a free, independent, just, and progressive Philippines."

It is Salonga’s humility that former Sen. Edgardo Angara also stressed in his eulogy. He remembered Salonga as the Socratic, inspirational leader they all looked up to in the Senate.

Although not her contemporary, Sen. Loren Legarda spoke as a mentee of Salonga. She was a journalist when Salonga presided over the US Military Treaty voting; thus when she became a senator herself years after, she sought his advice for major decisions she had to make as a member of the law-making body.

Senate president Franklin Drilon meanwhile addressed today’s younger generation saying “To the Filipino youth who are now enjoying the freedom that generations before them paid for with their life and limb, may the life of Jovito Salonga inspire you to protect our hard-won democracy.”

Esteban Salonga, son of the late Jovito Salonga, accepted the resolution and reiterated the love his father had for the Senate and thanked everyone for their words, which he said they are hoping to publish soon.