Tito Nene fought for things we take for granted today

Eulogy of Senator Pia S. Cayetano for the late Senate President Aquilino ‘Nene’ Q. Pimentel, Jr. (October 23, 2019, Senate Plenary)

Tita Bing, Koko, Gwen, and the rest of the Pimentel family. SP, Tita Helen. President Erap, colleagues and friends of Tito Nene.


I have grappled since Sunday morning to find the right words to honor Tito Nene. In a matter of hours, the news reported out the loss of a leader of a generation that fought for democracy, the father of the Local Government Code, the original proponent of federalism.


Tito Nene did grand things. There’s no doubt about that. But for me and those who knew him well, we will remember him for the small things. For what is greatness without kindness? Without humility? Without compassion? Traits I saw in my seatmate and mentor for many years.  Whatever he fought for on the floor, I saw it up close. Beyond the brilliant legislator and defender of democracy that he was, I got to know the kind and gentle person who was a loving husband to Tita Bing and father to their children. His kindness extended to me. I felt like I had a father who was looking after me and guiding me.


In the middle of my first term, there was a change in leadership and I became a member of the minority. And that’s when Tito Nene became my seatmate. I would often consult him. He always took time to provide me with his feedback. But more than that, he always encouraged me and  commended me for the work I was doing. Thinking about him while writing this, I am reminded of how generous he was with praise and how slow he was to criticize.


In a world where trading barbs and sometimes the use of foul language can be the norm, I cannot even recall Tito Nene saying an unkind word about someone. Don’t get me wrong, he was quick to stand up and register his opposition to something he was against, but always in a professional manner. In fact, the image I have in my mind is him in a huddle or someone approaching him and him saying, “Sige na, okay na.”


During the session breaks, Tito Nene attended conferences abroad. He would then deliver a privilege speech detailing his trip. He told me I should do the same. Thus, I adopted the habit of documenting and reporting out on the floor the meetings and conferences I attended abroad, just like him.


Tito Nene also was constantly writing and editing his papers and books. When I asked him how he keeps track of all the details, he told  me to record everything that happens in a day because one day the information will be useful. Just a name, just a place, and from there it will help you remember more details. I do that now too.


Tito Nene and I were both very active in the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the oldest and largest organization of members of parliaments from all over the world. In 2010, I was ending my term as Vice President for what is now known as the IPU’s Women Bureau. I had the opportunity to run for higher office but I hesitated because of the workload. I went to him to basically inform him that I wasn’t going to pursue it. He said, “Sige na, kunin mo na. It will be a great honor for the country.” I trusted him completely, and then and there, I changed my mind. I ran and won and became the first Asian President of IPU’s Women Bureau.


During the many conferences we attended together, I also became close to Tita Bing who was his constant companion. Over the years, I heard the stories of what they went through as a family, how Tita Bing held them together during the difficult times while Tito Nene was fighting for the causes he believed in. When I got to know Tito Nene and Tita Bing, it was much more quiet times. Tita Bing was always there. And it’s true, beside every great man is a great woman.


Yesterday, when I paid my respects, ito na po ‘yung nakakatawa, hindi na po ako iiyak sa part na ito. Yesterday, when I paid my respects, I sat by Tita Bing and I said I was at a loss on what to say because many of my stories about Tito Nene were very personal. Stories I would tell his family but was not very comfortable sharing in a eulogy.


Tita Bing asked me, “Like what? Tell me.” And I said well, one day out of the blue, Tito Nene said to me, “Pia, I don’t do this, it’s not my thing, but you deserve to be happy and have a good man.”


Tita Bing burst out laughing and said, “Totoo ‘yan. Ikuwento mo yan para they will know that side of your Tito Nene.” So there. Kwinento ko na po. I’m including that part of Tito Nene. He proceeded to introduce me to someone, the outcome of which I will leave to your speculation because it will remain forever a Pimentel and Cayetano family secret. Of course my dear sister Gwen knows all about this, but I was surprised that even Koko knew and he was laughing last night recounting his version of the story.


One last story, the late Joker Arroyo who was also my seatmate after Tito Nene retired, sat behind me and Tito Nene.  True to his name, Joker often ribbed Tito Nene saying that he could not understand what was Nene’s obsession with the poor and his fight for democracy. According to Joker, Nene was an unico hijo and a brilliant lawyer who did not have to bother fighting on the streets. Tito Nene would just laugh heartily. Kilala na niya si Joker. They go back a long time. They were comrades in the parliament of the streets. But it’s true, Tito Nene used his best days fighting for things we take for granted today.


I hope my contributions add to your appreciation of the Honorable Nene Pimentel, who was great in the big ways and marvelous in the small ways that made him human and beloved to those of us whose lives he touched.


I’ll end with this… The Senate staff would know that we were still in the building because my pink water bottle and his cup of pencils and pens would still be on our table. I have since upgraded my water bottle to a bamboo tumbler. He has turned in his cup for one that flows eternally.


When I saw Tita Bing last night, she said to me, “Love ka nun.” Tita Bing, love ko din siya. #

The remains of the late Senate President Aquilino ‘Nene’ Q. Pimentel Jr. arrives at the Senate of the Philippines.
Senators led by Senate President Vicente Sotto III stood in front of the Senate Building as honor guards carry the casket of former Senate President Nene Pimentel.
Senator Pia S. Cayetano: “Tito Nene used his best days fighting for things we take for granted today.”
Senators present Senate Resolution No.168 honoring the late Senate President to the Pimentel family.

Pia vows to help fulfill SONA development goals

Senator Pia S. Cayetano has vowed to carry out the legislative work necessary to fulfill President Rodrigo Duterte’s vision for the country, as outlined in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

 “The main message is really simple. The President wants a better and more comfortable life for the Filipinos,” she told reporters in an ambush interview after the President addressed the joint session of Congress on Monday.   

“I look forward to helping him see his dream for our country come true in the next three years,” the returning senator added. 

Several legislative items mentioned by the Chief Executive in his SONA already have counterparts filed in the Senate by the senator. 

These include the measures creating a Department of Disaster Resilience (DDR); the National Land Use Policy Act; and the salary hike for public school teachers, which the President wants expanded to cover all government workers, including nurses, by introducing  amendments to the Salary Standardization Law. 

She described the President’s call to lift six million Filipinos from poverty as his most daunting challenge to members of the House and Senate. 

“Yun ang talagang pagtutuunan ko ng pansin. From education, to health, to livelihood, sa mga ikagaganda ng buhay ng mga vulnerable, lalo na ‘yung mga senior citizens, may kapansanan, lahat po ‘yun,” she emphasized. 

In line with these objectives, Cayetano has filed her version of ‘Build, Build, Build’ bills seeking to fast-track infrastructure requirements for public education and health services, respectively. 

Meanwhile, Cayetano’s proposed Education Roadmap Act seeks to align the skills and competencies of students with the evolving needs of industry to make our graduates globally competitive and job-ready. 

The senator has also filed the Tulong Puhunan bill to assist the growth of the micro and small enterprises sector, the role of which was also cited in SONA.

Another measure mentioned by the President that has also been filed by Cayetano is the bill creating a National Academy of Sports for high school students. 

The pronouncement, she said, reflects the President’s regard for the important role of youth and sports in national development. #

Senator Pia Cayetano delivers a manifestation on the Senate floor at the opening of the first regular session of the 18th Congress.
Returning and newly elected senators take their oath during the first session of the Senate.

Pia to SK leaders: Promote entrepreneurship, financial literacy among youth

Pia to SK leaders: Go beyond sponsoring sports tournaments; encourage financial literacy, entrepreneurship in your generation

Nacionalista Party senatorial bet Pia S. Cayetano is encouraging youth leaders across the country to take the initiative in promoting financial literacy and entrepreneurship among members of their generation, as a means to secure their future.

“I want to plant these seeds in the minds of our youth leaders in the hope that they would come up with programs like this, and I would love to have the opportunity to help them also,” said Cayetano, a lawyer and entrepreneur who earned her economics degree from the University of the Philippines.

The congresswoman was in Pampanga earlier this week where she had a sit-down discussion with leaders of the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation in San Fernando City.

In her talk with the SK leaders, Cayetano encouraged them to go beyond sponsoring the usual sports tournaments in their community, and try to initiate other programs that will promote financial literacy and entrepreneurship among their constituents. 

“It’s interesting that we have a common interest, which is sports. But I also realize that it is not enough, because, as they told me, that’s what their sector already expects from them,” she said. 

“I’m so happy because sports fills a big need in their sector. But I am encouraging them to explore other areas like financial literacy and entrepreneurship, (in order) to understand what they need to secure their future,” Cayetano added.

Cayetano has been going around the country to discuss with youth leaders possible ways through which the government could respond to the needs and aspirations of their generation. 

“God willing, if I’m re-elected to the Senate, I would make laws for the Filipino people – and they say we have a very young population. I have to always be in tune with the views of the Filipino youth. And there’s no other way but to sit down, discuss and listen to them,” she said, while stressing the need to prepare young Filipinos to become job-ready, globally competitive, and productive members of society. #

Senatorial aspirant Pia S. Cayetano holds a sit-down discussion with youth leaders in San Fernando, Pampanga on Tuesday to talk about how the government could respond to their sector’s needs.

Pia: World sees Metro Manila as ‘face’ of PH

House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano on Friday urged her fellow public servants in Metro Manila to set the bar for good leadership, while noting that other countries primarily look to the National Capital Region (NCR) as the ‘face’ of the nation.

Speaking before the second general assembly of the Metro Manila Councilors League held in Pasay City, the Taguig City representative said that NCR councilors play an important role in building the image of what the rest of the world sees about the Philippines.

“Everybody looks at us in Metro Manila, what we do here,” Cayetano told the assembly. ‘The country is watching us, the world is watching us, and they look to Metro Manila. Tayo po ang nasa frontline in creating our image (before the world).”

Cayetano likewise emphasized the importance of accountability and transparency for government leaders, especially in the era of social media.

“In this age of social media, the demands are very high. You, me, all of us can easily be questioned. Our decisions can be easily attacked, and so the least we can do is to be transparent,” she explained.

“If we follow fair play, then to a certain extent, they (critics) would have no reason to question our decisions. If we follow the procedures that we ourselves helped legislate, clean na tayo doon. And beyond that, the most we can do is to how to make ourselves better. This makes it easier (to do our jobs) because we become accountable to every single person.”

In ending her speech, Cayetano urged her fellow public servants, especially young and first-time elected leaders, to reflect on their purpose for joining public service, and what can they do to make a difference in the lives of their respective constituents in Metro Manila. #

Pia meets with Occidental Mindoro leaders

House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano on Thursday (September 6) addressed the assembly of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) in the province of Occidental Mindoro, where she emphasized the importance of effective leadership.

Cayetano, who also represents the second district of Taguig City, told the assembly composed of provincial board members, vice mayors, councilors, barangay chairpersons and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) youth leaders how it is important for public servants not to be just leaders of people, but leaders who can inspire change.

“There is good leadership and there is bad leadership. Someone may be considered a good leader simply because he or she has followers, or can speak well, but it does not mean that you are doing good service. You may be able to command an audience, but are you the kind of leader who can inspire people? That is the challenge,” she said.

Cayetano added that change need not come on a grand scale to be relevant. Rather, making a difference in people’s lives can be achieved in small pockets of opportunities.

PCL President and Board Member Mark Ramirez and Board Member AJ Rebong led the assembly, which gathered 100 leaders from the 11 municipalities of Occidental Mindoro province. #


Hugpong ng Pagbabago endorses Pia Cayetano

The regional political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) has endorsed House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano as one of its prospective ‘senatoriables’ for the national and local elections in 2019.

A former two-term senator and the current second district representative of Taguig City, Cayetano has consistently placed among the top preferences for senator in nationwide pre-election surveys conducted by polling firms in recent months.

At the party’s convention and mass oath-taking held in SM Lanang, Davao City last Friday, August 17, Cayetano thanked the HNP leadership for choosing to endorse her, and for firmly believing in her capabilities as a public servant.

The Taguig City lawmaker personally thanked Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte of the HNP whom she had worked with in programs for women and health when Cayetano was still a senator.

Cayetano also thanked the Davao City mayor’s father, President Rodrigo Duterte, who had been one of her mentors since she started out in politics in 2004. The President was the main guest speaker at the HNP assembly, which was attended by more than 6,000 leaders and supporters.

She said national and local officials should take inspiration from the President and the Davao City Mayor, whose vision and political will have made them into effective leaders who are respected and trusted by the people. “I am so proud to stand by our President and Mayor Sara Duterte,” Cayetano said. #