‘Second father, personal friend’: How Fidel V. Ramos is remembered

August 1, 2022 - 3:41 PM
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Former President Fidel Ramos speaks to journalists as he arrives at Hong Kong International Airport, China August 8, 2016. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

Several personalities paid tribute to the late president Fidel Ramos, who died due to COVID-19 complications on Sunday, July 31. 

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the nephew of Ramos, called for prayers for his uncle.

“Our family shares the Filipino people’s grief on this sad day. We did not only lose a good leader but also a member of the family,” Marcos said.

“I call on all Filipinos to pray for the eternal repose of Mr. Ramos. The legacy of his presidency will always be cherished and will be forever enshrined in the hearts of our grateful nation,” he added.

Rafael Alunan III, former tourism secretary of the Ramos administration, said he considers the latte president his “second father.”

“I’ve been sucking it in from the time I learned the sad news, staring blankly at the screen, waiting for the family to officially announce his journey to the afterlife. Regarded him as my second father as many of my brothers in uniform did,” Alunan said in a Facebook post

“The time will come when my thoughts will stream in rapid fashion and convert into words that, nonetheless, I fear will never be articulate enough to express profound gratitude for all that he did for ‘Duty, Honor, Country.’ May the Force welcome you Home, Sir!” he added. 

Former president Rodrigo Duterte also expressed his condolences to the family of Ramos. 

“I am one with his wife, Ming, his family, his friends, and the entire Filipino people mourning the death of a great statesman, mentor, and friend. As we grieve for his loss, let us honor his legacy of service and his significant contributions to the country,” Duterte wrote

Meanwhile, former vice president Leni Robredo reposted a photo of her and her family with Ramos in 1994 during one of Ramos’ visits to Naga. 

“Arrived Manila with the sad news of FVR’s passing. Our family mourns his death and remembers what his presidency meant in the post-dictatorship presidency,” Robredo said, adding that the late president has become a personal friend and a supporter in during the 2022 elections.

In a tweet, former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said Ramos is the best Philippine president. 

 “He brokered peace, modernized the economy, reformed government systems, professionalized the bureaucracy & reintroduced our country into the global community,” Trillanes said. 

“Being a former soldier, FVR had a tireless but efficient and disciplined work ethic. He was a brilliant strategist and a very effective crisis manager. Finally, he had a commanding presence; always snappily dressed and very dignified in demeanor as president,” he added

Journalists also shared how Ramos dealt with the media during his presidency. 

“I forgot what story I was covering, but we were outside Crame. A car was making a turn to enter the gate when it stopped, and a head stuck out. It was Fidel Ramos who readily answered questions. He had his share of critical reports but never resented the press. RIP Sir,” journalist Barnaby Lo wrote

Journalist Inday Espina Verona, editor-in-chief of the Philippines Graphic during Ramos’ presidency, revealed in a tweet that Ramos liked to invite him for inside stories of news headlines. 

“The only problem with FVR was, that he would chat for hours but only allow the use of very few quotes,” Espina said. 

Despite this, Espina said, “the combination of razor-sharp mind and laid back manner made for really interesting times.”

During late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr’s rule in the 70s and 80s, Ramos headed the Philippine Constabulary. 

He led the Philippine National Police during the Martial Law from 1972 to 1986. 

During the 1986 People Power Revolution, Ramos became one of the key figures that ousted Marcos Sr. 

Before being elected president in 1992, Ramos served as Defense secretary from 1988 until 1991.

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