Senators paid tribute to former senator and human rights lawyer Rene V. Saguisag and expressed their condolences to his family Wednesday.

Saguisag’s son, Rebo, announced the passing of his father on his Facebook page Wednesday but no other details were provided.

“As we mourn his loss, we take solace in the enduring impact of his legacy. Rene Saguisag was a dedicated public servant, and his tireless endeavors as a human rights advocate, senator and writer stand as a testament to his unwavering commitment to justice, truth, and democracy,” the family statement read.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said Saguisag, elected to the Senate in 1987, was a man of honor, dignity, and integrity who dedicated his life to pursuing justice and fairness for Filipinos.

“He may have just served one term in the Senate, but his entire life was devoted to pursuing justice and fairness for every Filipino, particularly through such initiatives as the Free Legal Assistance Group,” Zubiri said.

Saguisag co-authored laws such as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Ombudsman Act of 1989.

Zubiri recalled that Saguisag also provided free legal services to the poor and needy, leaving a legacy of service and excellence.

Senate Pro Tempore Loren Legarda remembered Saguisag as “a voice for the voiceless” and “a defender of human rights,” while Senator Francis Escudero described the former senator’s love for the country.

“In his lone Senate term, he made sure that there would be accountability of public officials and civil servants, and was one of those who vehemently opposed the stay of the US military bases in the country,” Legarda said.

“My sincere condolences and prayers to the family and loved ones of former Senator Rene V. Saguisag. He was a patriot, a nationalist and an honest public servant,” Escudero added.

Senator Robinhood Padilla considers him a close friend and mentor, appreciating his wisdom and guidance.

“Ka Rene is not only smart, he was ‘very smart’. If he wrote an opinion, you need to read it carefully and repeat it to make sure you understand his writing correctly. Thank you very much, Ka Rene, for the wisdom you shared with us,” Padilla said.

Senator Grace Poe also acknowledged Saguisag’s contributions as a legal luminary and staunch advocate for good governance and justice.

“In our citizenship battle with the courts, Sen. Rene had stood with us, unconditionally lending his wit and wisdom, and for this, we will forever hold him dear,” Poe said.

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said Saguisag was the “gold standard” in the legal community known for his unwavering commitment to justice, particularly for the oppressed and marginalized.

“We are fortunate to have encounters with him and learn from his deep compassion for the ordinary Filipino workers and in fighting for their rights, which inspired our own advocacies,” he said.

In his stint as senator, Saguisag chaired the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privilege and the Ad hoc Committee on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. His term in concluded in 1992.

“We request that our family be granted a few moments of privacy as we grieve. We will soon announce details of the service honoring his life, and we look forward to the opportunity to gather and pay tribute to a life lived with integrity and purpose. Papa/Lolo has passed on, but his spirit will continue to inspire us to strive for a more just world,” the family stated. (PNA)