MANILA, Oct 7 (Mabuhay) – Former Senator Joker Arroyo died on October 5 following an unsuccessful heart operation in the United States, former Senator Rene Saguisag confirmed.
Saguisag described Arroyo’s passing as a “shocker,” noting he did not know that Arroyo was brought to the US. He said they last communicated in January this year.
“Nabasa ko sa emails ko, hindi nag-succeed ‘yung heart operation… Medyo mahirap paniwalaan, napakalakas, young-looking. It was a shocker,” Saguisag said.
“As of now, basta ang alam natin dinala sa Estados Unidos at doon yumao [si Senator Joker Arroyo],” he added.
Saguisag said he last met with Arroyo last January during the arrest of suspended Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, their mutual client, over alleged corruption.
“Nung arestuhin si Junjun… sinamahan ako ni Joker… In a matter of hours, nakinig si Koko Pimentel at si Sonny Trillanes,” Saguisag said of Binay’s eventual release.
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III is the chairman of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that is investigating the alleged corruption involving the Binay family, with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV as one of its members.
Arroyo first made his mark as a human rights lawyer who challenged before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of Proclamation 1081, which imposed Martial Law.
During the dictatorship, he also defended several political detainees in court, among them slain Se
n. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., former Senators Jovito Salonga, Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., and Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Eugenio Lopez Jr., Senator Sergio Osmeña III, and Jose Maria Sison.
He served as the counsel of Ninoy’s widow, Cory, during the 1986 snap elections.
With a new government following the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, Cory appointed him as executive secretary. He then went on to become chairman of the Philippine National Bank and executive director for the Philippines at the Asian Development Bank.
Arroyo began serving in Congress as the representative of Makati in 1992, where he stayed for three terms.
As his tenure there came to an end, he became lead prosecutor in the impeachment trial of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
He was elected to the Senate in 2001 and served as chairman of several committees, including the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, until his last term ended in 2013.
At Congress, he was known to be one of its thriftiest members, maintaining this reputation for some 20 years.
At the Senate, his expenses paled in comparison to those of his colleagues. Records from the Commission on Audit in 2010 showed that he spent P16.65 million then. Reports also said he did not collect his share of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). (MNS)