Senators pay tribute to 'patriot first class' Joker Arroyo

MANILA, Philippines - Senators of the 16th Congress pay tribute to former Sen. Joker Paz Arroyo (January 5, 1927 - October 5, 2015), a human rights lawyer and freedom fighter that shocked the public of his untimely demise at the age of 88.

Joker Arroyo dies

Arroyo's colleague, Rene Saguisag, confirmed on Wednesday morning the passing of the reputed "Defender in Congress" following what he called a failed heart surgery in the United States.

Arroyo was a key figure in the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution which ousted the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos.

Arroyo has chaired the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee, and the Senate Public Services Committee, during the 13th congress. He claimed to have never traveled abroad on government money and his Statement of Assets and Liabilities has remained almost unchanged from the time he entered public service in 1986. He retired from public service on June 30, 2013.

Joker Arroyo, a Great Dissenter, Maverick, Defender - Sen. Ralph Recto

"When he arrived at the Senate, he already had a life's worth of achievements, great victories he won without wearing the mantle of parliamentary immunity. This country owes much of its freedom to him, as do hundreds whose liberty he secured.

Joker was an incorrigible fiscalizer. He loved to tilt the windmills and tussle with the powerful. He was a solitary gunfighter, drawing strength from the righteousness of his crusade, never taking comfort in the number of people who share his belief.

Joker Arroyo was a patriot first class. Having walked in his shadows, I will always remember him as the boy in the fable who had the courage and the candor, who never failed and never tired, to shout that the emperor was wearing no clothes."

I will forever cherish fond memories of Joker Arroyo - Sen. Jinggoy Estrada

"I will forever cherish fond memories of him, including his banters and witty remarks before the start of the plenary sessions and even during legislative deliberations on the floor. I am truly fortunate to have worked with a brilliant mind like Sen. Arroyo, a seasoned legislator, topnotch human rights lawyer, in the Senate. The entire nation is deeply honored and thankful for his honest and principled service to the Filipino people."

I condole with the nation for the loss of a staunch advocate - Sen. TG Guingona

"I extend my deepest condolences to the family of the late Sen. Joker Arroyo for the loss of a loving father. I also condole with the nation for the loss of a staunch advocate for good governance that our country truly deserves.

I share this pain because more than a colleague, Senator Joker was a comrade in the battle against corruption in public office as we both sat as chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Having known and worked alongside Senator Arroyo is truly a privilege and this country will never be the same without a man of honor and integrity such as Senator Joker Arroyo."

Joker Arroyo is a true joker - Sen. Pia Cayetano

"And for those who didn't know him, he truly lived up to his name. He would often make jokes about us, his colleagues, and was one of the few who could get away with his catty, on-the-spot remarks directed at his colleagues.

When I entered the session hall today, I could almost feel his presence. His contributions to the richness of Philippine legislation will be carried in the journals and records of Congress, and will influence policies for future generations.

I was privileged to know him and to learn from one of the best. I will treasure his friendship and memory forever."

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