Press Release
November 17, 2014

EULOGY for Senator Juan Flavier
Nov. 17, 2014
Senate of the Philippines

My first face-to-face encounter with Manong Johnny Flavier happened on a popular TV show before the 1995 senatorial elections, where we both ran. We were guests of then TV host and now Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto. It did not take long before the Star for All Seasons and I faded into the background, and together with a national audience, we were treated to the Juan Flavier roadshow.

Sec. Flavier had been in DOH commercials promoting "Let's DOH it!" programs. Some believed that he would reach the limits of his competence as advocate of grassroots public health in the Legislature. Of course, they were all proven wrong, because the Senate simply became a bigger stage for Manong Johnny, where he almost effortlessly garnered bipartisan support for the laws he sponsored and co-authored. He believed that the Hippocratic Oath, together with our entire body of codes and laws, had to be honoured in the poorest and most remote corners of the country.

Every plenary discussion, committee hearing, caucus and meeting I witnessed and attended with him in the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th Congress became for me an important lesson in public service, humility, and compassion, as well as lethal exposure to the viral Flavier humor. Members of the upper chamber were expected to reflect, audibly and visibly, the highest standards of statesmanship, but this was never a problem for Manong Johnny, whose heart was bigger than and inversely proportional to his pride --- and his size.

He endeared himself to his peers and subordinates, this diminutive giant of a barrio doctor turned weapon of mass communication and Senator of the Republic.

Soon I decided that if and when I grew up to approximate what he had become in the hearts and minds of the Filipino people we both served, I wanted to be like Sen. Juan Flavier.

Manong Johnny, Apo, Godspeed. You can now rest peacefully in God's bosom.

Your legacy - your continuing work and co-workers, your family, children, and grandchildren, and those who come after you - is secure.

You found joy in life, and gave so much joy to others.

We miss you, but I'm sure, not as much as you are missed by Manang Susan and the kids.

We love you, but I'm sure, not as much as you loved God, your country, and your family.

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