Today is the 6th death anniversary of a Filipino patriot and statesman, Salvador 'Doy' Laurel (1928-2004), who served his country as National Centennial Commission Chairman (1994-1998), Vice-President of the Republic (1986-1992), Assemblyman (1978-1983) and Senator (1967-1972). Doy & Ninoy Aquino were best friends from childhood and entered Congress together.
In a testimony written by Lupita Kashiwahara, Ninoy's sister, one reads:
"Doy and Ninoy served together in the Philippine Senate. Those were the glory years of intelligent, articulate discourse. Can you imagine being in the Senate gallery, listening to those two giants of Philippine politics debating the critical issues of the time? The Senate has not been the same since.
"During martial law, Doy established UNIDO [United Nationalist Democratic Organization], the leading opposition party to [Ferdinand] Marcos. And when Ninoy decided to end his self-imposed exile and return home, Doy took charge of his homecoming.
"In a quiet moment during the turmoil that followed Ninoy's murder, Doy, I was told, cried. Doy the bon vivant, the life of a party, the fierce Batangueno, was a caring and sensitive human being. He felt our pain and his own. We had lost a loved one and so had he."
In the testimony of a loyal friend, Raul M. Gonzalez, Doy "fought valiantly together with other freedom-loving Filipinos during the darkest hours of our democracy, earning the ire of the then martial law regime."
These testimonies and those of many others can be read in the beautiful coffee table book, "Doy Laurel," put together by his talented & devoted widow Celia Diaz-Laurel and published in 2005. His life, ideas, and writings can also be read in the newly launched website: www.doylaurel.com
One my fondest memories of Ninong Doy, who was a main sponsor at my wedding, was the dinner he & Tita Celia hosted for me and my fiancee, Deeda, and our parents, Raul and Pacita Gonzalez and Oscar and Alice Villadolid in December 2002. Ninong Doy & Tita Celia were perfect hosts, and he personally prepared and served us his delicious specialty, Sukiyaki.
May the spirit of Doy Laurel cheer us & sustain us to "help those who cannot help themselves" and to love country above oneself.