5 August 2005

The Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), including its consultants, staffers and volunteers, extends deepest condolences to Sonia Malasarte-Roco, her children and grandchildren on the demise of Senator Raul S. Roco.

The NDFP shares in their grief for the passing of an exemplary Filipino patriot and civil libertarian who stood for substantial progressive reforms to uplift the people from their oppressed and exploited condition.

Senator Roco was a close family friend to one of us, fondly remembered for his astute political observations while leisurely playing poker in small-stake games during weekend gatherings before martial law was declared.

But Senator Roco was more than a personal friend to the NDFP. The NDFP Chief Political Consultant remembers fondly how his neighbor Senator Roco arranged his first meeting with Senator Benigno Aquino in 1968. He was then the latter�s technical assistant. He also arranged meetings between the NDF Preparatory Commission on the one hand and Bonifacio Gillego and other members of the Constitutional Convention who opposed Marcos� rape of the 1972 constitution.

Senator Roco was a close ally of the aboveground democratic movement and the underground revolutionary forces and people during the struggle against the Marcos fascist dictatorship. He defended victims of human rights violations and did his utmost to foster unity among the opposition forces against martial rule.

He was an honorable person. He stood by his lofty ideals and principles as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1971, during his stint as congressman and senator from 1987 to 2001, as Secretary of Education, and a presidential candidate in 2004. On the eve of his death, he showed great wisdom in calling for the resignation of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for corruption and cheating in the elections.

Senator Roco was also known for his advocacy of women�s rights, earning the title of �Honorary Woman�. He could have become the president had it not been for his sudden illness which distraught the people and his supporters. He would have been an excellent partner in peace negotiations for the benefit of the Filipino people.

He lived a meaningful life of service to the people. He has left a legacy that his family, friends and compatriots can be proud of and that can continue to inspire them. Thus, he continues to live in all our hearts and minds

For the National Democratic Front of the Philippines:

Luis G. Jalandoni
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel


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