‘True patriot, defender of democracy’: Rodolfo Biazon in the eyes of Filipinos

June 12, 2023 - 5:17 PM
Rodolfo Biazon
Former AFP chief and senator Rodolfo Biazon. (Philippine News Agency/File Photo)

Various personalities from politics, media, and ordinary Filipinos poured tributes for former military general and veteran lawmaker Rodolfo “Pong” Biazon who passed away on the 125th Independence Day.

Muntilupa City Mayor Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon on Monday morning announced the death of his father at around 8:30 a.m. on June 12 after a bout with pneumonia.

The elder Biazon was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2022 and underwent the necessary treatment. His son said he caught pneumonia twice, with the second one being “more serious” and weakening the former senator’s lungs.

“It is perfectly fitting that today, Independence Day, at around 8:30 a.m., the soldier who dedicated his life and laid it on the line in defending freedom and democracy, has been set free from the pains of this world,” Ruffy said in a Facebook post.

“He courageously fought his last battle like a Marine would, but it is the Lord’s will which prevails,” he added.

Ruffy also described his father as a “warrior and gentleman” who has “fought the good fight and has finished the race.”

The elder Biazon is survived by his wife Monchie, his children, Ruffy, Richie, and Rino, and their spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Among those who paid tribute to the former senator include personalities from politics, including ex-public officials, the government and the media.

“Ikinalulungkot ko ang pagpanaw ng isa sa mga tinitingala at hinahangaan naming Senador at upperclassman na si Sen. Rodolfo ‘Pong’ Biazon,” former senator Sonny Trillanes tweeted.

“He was a true patriot and soldier of the Filipino people, being a defender of Democracy during the Cory Administration, and a protector of our people and State all throughout his adult life,” he added.

Veteran journalist Manny Mogato said the country “lost a patriot and a hero” who was “unconventional and won the admiration of many people, including journalists.”

He recounted some highlights of Rodolfo’s life which include the latter’s role in defending Camp Aguinaldo from rogue troops amid destabilization attempts during late former president Cory Aquino’s administration.

“He was rewarded by the president by appointing him chief of staff three months before he would have [retired]. His heroics in Camp Aguinaldo won the hearts of Filipinos who elected him a senator for two terms. He was also a congressman,” Mogato said on Facebook.

“[Rodolfo] Biazon was transformed from a stiff Marine general to [a] friendly amiable politician, [well-loved] by journalists,” he added.

For Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, the elder Biazon was one of the country’s “staunchest defenders of the peace and democracy” that Filipinos are “enjoying today.”

“It was a gift to have been a novice senator during a time when Senator Biazon was still in office. I had the great fortune of learning from him, and being inspired by his uncompromising public service — not just as a veteran legislator but also as a veteran military man, having been the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces,” the Senate leader said on Facebook.

“He brought that same military discipline and commitment to his work in the Senate, and to every aspect of his life as a public servant,” Zubiri added.

He also called Rodolfo “a fountain of guidance and wisdom” to those sitting in the Senate and a “great man of service who dedicated his entire life and career” to Filipinos.

“Paalam at salamat, Senador Rodolfo ‘Pong’ Biazon. Isang mainit na pagsaludo sa isang magiting na Pilipino!” Zubiri said.

Former Bureau of Corrections director-general Nicanor Faeldon said he got a “Marine haircut” as a tribute to the elder Biazon, who he called “one of the best Marine Generals the Philippine Marine Corps ever had.”

“My snappiest salute, GEN RODOLFO G. BIAZON AFP, Sir!” Faeldon said on Facebook.

Some ordinary Filipinos also paid their respects to the late chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“My condolences to the Biazon Family. General Biazon was an epitome of a good soldier. He served the Cory Aquino Administration with dedication [and] integrity. His iconic doboldegoc during a Senate hearing. You will [be] sorely missed, Sir! Mabuhay ka!” middle school teacher Eva Tagudina tweeted.

“Condolences to your family on this difficult time,” another Twitter user said in response to Ruffy’s social media post.

“Maraming salamat sa iyong pagiging ‘Balikatan sa Bahay at Buhay’. Rest well, Sen. Pong,” the user added.

Another Filipino claimed that her father had “lots of happy stories” when the latter was under the command of Rodolfo in the Philippine Marine Corps.

“Rest in power, sir!” she exclaimed.

Rodolfo, one of the military officers who stayed loyal to Aquino, helped quash the 1987 and 1989 coup attempts staged by military rebels.

He first entered the military establishment as a Philippine Military Academy superintendent in 1986.

By 1987, he became a Philippine Marines commandant, a post he held until 1989. Rodolfo also became a National Capital Region Defense Command commanding general from 1988 to 1990.

By 1990, the elder Biazon became the vice chief-of-staff of the AFP. He rose as an AFP chief in 1991.

The following year, he was elected as a senator, where he served from 1992 to 1995. Rodolfo was reelected in the Senate in 1998, a post he kept until 2010.

From 2010 to 2016, the Biazon patriarch served as a Muntinlupa representative.

Rodolfo, apart from his illustrious military career, was also known for crafting laws that provided benefits for the country’s soldiers.

He was also one of the main proponents of the reproductive health law.

The elder Biazon was additionally part of the team that fought for the Philippines’ historic case against China over the West Philippine Sea.