Senate, former colleagues pay tribute to late Sen. Victor Ziga

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 10 2021 03:17 PM | Updated as of Feb 10 2021 03:38 PM

Senate, former colleagues pay tribute to late Sen. Victor Ziga 1
Former Sen. Victor S. Ziga attends the reunion of senators in celebration of the Philippine Senate's centennial anniversary at the Manila Hotel on October 5, 2016. Joseph Vidal, Senate PRIB/file

MANILA - “Ang pangalang walang dikta.”

This was the best legacy that late Sen. Victor Ziga left his family and the Philippines as a public servant, according to his son and namesake who serves as a member of the Albay Provincial Board.

Ziga, who was among the Philippine senators who voted against the retention of the US military bases in the Philippines in 1991, passed away on January 31, according to his family.

"(His) independence of mind was in full view by the time the Bases Treaty went up for the Senate vote on Sept. 16, 1991. The then-President led an unprecedented march to the Senate to push the ratification of the treaty... Twelve senators which history will remember as the so-called 'Magnificent 12', including my father, rose to reject the treaty and ended the centuries of foreign troops and military installations in the country," Vic Ziga, Jr. said during Wednesday's necrological service for his father at the Senate in Pasay City.

Ziga served during the 8th Congress, from 1987 to 1992.

The late public servant never wavered in his principles and commitment to truthfully serve the people, and has remained a loyal member to the Liberal Party, his son said.

There were a number of times that his father declined offers for lucrative positions due to conflict with his principles, said Ziga, Jr.

“He demanded excellence on both work and family… He, together with our mother, instilled in us the importance of helping and doing right for others. Our house will always have an ‘open door policy.’ And this is something that he inherited from his parents and something he passed down on us.”

Ziga authored various laws such as Republic Act 6728 that provides assistance to students and teachers, Republic Act 6948 that standardizes the benefits of the military and veterans, and the local government code of 1991.

After retiring from politics, he continued supporting the education of those who aspired to become priests or nuns.

He was also a leading figure in various outreach programs for typhoon victims and was helping the Philippine General Hospital in medical missions.

Former Sen. Joey Lina paid tribute to his Senate batchmate, who he said was known to be "a silent worker."

Nobody can beat Ziga's simplicity as a public servant, according to incumbent Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

“When the pages of our history would be reviewed by the coming generations of students and the public, they would be convinced that here was a man who did his work quietly and well, without fanfare and pomposity, but only the best interest of his country… We shall all strive to follow your example of extraordinary simplicity while holding extraordinary power,” Sotto said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who served as Executive Secretary of then-President Corazon Aquino when Ziga voted against the retention of the US military bases in the country, shared how the late chief executive viewed the former senator.

“President Cory, however, understood that Vic’s vote was based on principles rather than any personal motive. To the end, President Cory’s respect for Vic never waned,” he said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, whose family is a close friend of the Zigas, described the late senator as one who “embodied the patriotism, integrity and competence of a true public servant.”

For Senate Majority Leader Migz Zubiri, Ziga was a “doer through and through – a workhorse who gets things done without needing that fanfare.”

Video courtesy of the Senate of the Philippines