By Hannah Torregoza
If there is one thing he would cherish from his father, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said it would be his favorite past time: to be a grandfather to his children.
During the necrological services for his father, the late Senate President Edgardo Angara, the son recalled it was his father’s favorite role to be a doting “lolo.”
“In fact, a week before he passed, he took a trip to Hong Kong with our youngest child Javier. And his plan was just for him, 83-year old man and a 7-year old grandson to travel to Hong Kong together,” Angara said.
“And my secretary booked it – the two of them. Imagine if something happened to him, sino ang mag-aalaga sa kanya? Yung kanyang apo?” he said.
Angara also took the opportunity to admit of his father’s flaws and asked his father’s former staff and the rest of the Senate personnel to bear with his shortcomings.
“Kahit minumura po kayo, mahal po kayo. Kami din po – he was our biggest critic but he was also our greatest supporter. Ganun po ang karinyo ng aking tatay. Alam nyo po yun,” he said.
“My father is human like every else. And if he hurt any of you here, humihingi po kami ng paumanhin. As I said, he had a quick temper. It was never personal to him. It was always borne out of a strong will to get things done. Very impatient po ang aking father,” he further said.
Angara said his father was just a “boy from a small town with big dreams and big plans.”
But his father’s inspiration was none other than his grandfather, Dr. Juan C. Angara and grandmother, Juana Javier.
“Both of his parents were among the first graduates of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital or UP-PGH. But unlike many who chose to practice medicine in the city, their profession, my grandparents took the path less traveled and decided to go back to their small town of Baler and to become what we now call the doctors to the barrios,” he stressed.
“That seed of public service was planted early on in my father’s life. Tulad ko, idol niya ang kanyang ama na si Dr. Juan C. Angara. At ang kanyang kababayan na si dating senador at pangulo Manuel Luis Quezon na tubong Baler din po.
Angara said his father’s childhood dream was to be a lawyer and a secretary of justice. “Safe to say, he exceeded his childhood dreams. My father attributed his success to his upbringing and to his education.
“Lagi po niyang ipinagyayabang sa akin na kahit kailan, hindi po siya nagbayad ng tuition fee. Scholar daw po siya. From Baler Central School, to UP, UP College of Law, and the University of Michigan,” he said.
“He always emphasized the need to give back, to throw back down the proverbial ladder of opportunity so that more Filipinos and their families could climb out of poverty,” he also said.
“(He was ) a boy from a small town with big dreams and big plans. The boy from Baler who made good and who gave back,” he added.
The former lawmaker will be laid to rest in his hometown in Baler, Aurora on Sunday, May 20.
Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri said that if there is one thing the elder Angara regretted the most, it was the time he lost spending with his family.
“He would confide in me that one of his biggest regrets is that he didn’t spend as much time with his family. On how he wished he was there more often for his children growing up, rather than always being so focused on work,” Zubiri said recalling his conversation with the veteran lawmaker during one of their official missions.
“To you Sonny, he loved you very much and he was so proud of you. And in a way, these last few years, he tried to make up for it by spending more time with his apos and taking them to trips to make up for lost time serving our people,” he said.
“Truly, he loved his family, he loved his country, but most of all, he loved this institution,” he further said.
Last Thursday, May 10, three days before he died, Zubiri said the former Senate leader sent him text message out of the blue and asked:, “Migs, how is our beloved Senate?”
Zubiri said this clearly showed his genuine concern and love for the hallowed institution he spent close to three decades of his life in.