Press Release
May 15, 2020

Senators express grief over passing of former Senator Tessie Aquino-Oreta

Senators expressed their grief over the demise of former Senator Tessie Aquino-Oreta, or TAO as she was commonly called by friends and colleagues. She was 75 years old.

"My family and I are so saddened by her demise. She was very close to me," Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in a statement.

He said his wife, Helen, who was Oreta's relative, was devastated by the former senator's demise and has not stopped crying since they were told the news Thursday night, May 14, 2020.

Sen. Richard Gordon said he and his wife, Kate, are mourning the loss of Oreta. He said the country lost a dedicated public servant who was also an advocate of education and employment.

"Not only did we share the same passion for promoting the welfare of our country's teachers because of our belief that having good teachers is the key to a better future for our country, but Tessie was also a very close friend to us," Gordon said.

"We extend our deepest condolences to her bereaved family and our prayer that they may find solace in their time of grief. Tessie may have gone ahead of us but she will always be remembered for the great legacy she left behind," he added.

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan said Oreta was appropriately called TAO because she had the heart for the common people. She was also humble and devoted to her advocacy in promoting education in the country.

"We will miss Tessie and we want to express our sympathy to her family for their loss," Pangilinan said.

The Senate has been flying its flag at half-mast as a symbol of mourning for the passing of Oreta.

Oreta was elected senator in 1998 and served her term during the 11th Congress. Before joining the Senate, she was a member of the House of Representatives for three consecutive terms, from 1987-1998, representing the district of Malabon-Navotas.

According to Sotto, Oreta was the chairperson of the Committee on Education from 1998 to 2004.

Sotto said some of Oreta's landmark bills that were signed into law included the Early Childhood Care and Development Act, Solo Parent Act, Solid Waste Management Act, Philippine Micronutrient Fortification Program, Clean Air Act, E-Commerce Act, the Philippine High School System Act, Governance of Basic Education Act and the Philippine Landscape Architecture Act.

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