Press Release
March 23, 2017

Speech of Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III
Necrological Rites for Former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani
Senate of the Philippines, Pasay City
March 23, 2017


I never had the honor to serve in the Senate with Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani.

But, from what I have learned of her from those who knew her personally, one of whom is my father, I can only say that the Senate was blessed by her selfless and dedicated presence in our institution as a lawmaker for two terms.

When we speak of heroes, we think of brave souls who have taken up arms against the enemies of our country, or those who directly supported our compatriots who clashed with foreign invaders.

The woman we honor today never bore arms against foreign invaders, nor tended to the wounds of those who did. But she did relentlessly fight for the interests of our newly-independent nation as the first female Ambassador to Romania, as our Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia, and as Deputy Foreign Minister under President Corazon Aquino.

She fought for the welfare of women and the disadvantaged in the halls of the United Nations as Chairperson of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, as Assistant Secretary-General for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs, as Secretary-General of the Seventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Treatment of Offenders, and in the Third World Conference on Women.

As Senator, she fought for our country's foreign policy interests, for the welfare of women, for the preservation of our culture and the arts, for our farmers and fisherfolk, for small businessmen, for victims of rape and discrimination, and for moral governance through her advocacies and the laws she passed.

Even when not in government service, she fought for the interests of the country, fighting ignorance in her distinguished career as an educator in the University of the Philippines, Miriam College, and the Lyceum of the Philippines.

She was an unrelenting public servant, even as a member of the private sector, she continued campaigning for the upliftment of people such as when she established the Shahani Gatas ng Kalabaw Products, Inc., providing much needed extra income for farmers in Pangasinan and the neighboring provinces.

In her many careers, there are very few people who were not positively affected by the causes she advocated. Even people born long after her passing would continue to benefit from the fruits of her labor.

And in her we also find a shining example of morality in governance. Despite being a member of the foreign service in the Marcos government, she did not hesitate to resign and support another hero, Corazon Aquino, when the latter challenged the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. It was not an easy decision to make.

Heroes are not just found in the bloody fields of battle. They can be found wherever someone decides to do what is right and to fight for what is right, even when it does not bring her any personal benefit. They can be found wherever someone decides that the welfare of others is just as important as hers.

Senator Shahani's list of achievements outshines those of most men. Yet she did all these things at a time when the glass ceiling was very real for women, making her achievements all the more remarkable. But for me, what made Senator Shahani even greater was that, through her laws protecting women from discrimination and her work in the United Nations, she made sure that other women are empowered to follow in her footsteps.

This is why Senator Leticia-Ramos Shahani is a hero.

It is a source of pride for me that she chose the Senate as a venue to advance her advocacies. Our beloved institution is enriched by her presence in its chamber. On behalf, therefore, of the Senate, allow me to place into the records of our Chamber our individual and collective thanks to the Honorable Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, the first female Senate President Pro Tempore, for her contributions to the enhancement of our foreign policy, the strengthening of the rule of law, human rights, justice, moral governance, and the development of the youth of the land.

As we lay her to rest after a life truly well lived, let me say, "Thank you, Senator Shahani. We will continue your causes from this point on."

News Latest News Feed