Ernesto Maceda, 81, dies of organ failure

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(Photo: thejunglepost.com)

Former Senate President Ernesto Maceda died June 21 at night due to multiple organ failure while fighting for his life after undergoing a gall bladder operation at St. Luke Medical Center in Quezon City.

His son Edmond texted, “At 8:58 this evening, my father passed away. He was 81 years old and lived a life dedicated to his family and public service.
The young Maceda said his wake will start on June 22, 3 p.m. at Mount Carmel Shrine in Quezon City. He will be interred on Saturday, June 25.

“We ask the public for prayers for the eternal repose of his soul,” he added.

Edmond also said his father may have fell into a comatose state due to complications from bleeding after his gallbladder removal surgery. He successfully recovered from the surgical operation last June 12.

“He was conscious. He was mentally sharp. He can’t speak because there was a tube in his mouth but he was happy he made it through the operation,” remembered his son.

That night, Edmond recalled his father went to sleep in a good state. But he later suffered internal bleeding after his bladder was removed, affecting his heart and kidney. He also underwent a pacemaker surgery to keep his heart beating.

“I then got news that he became unconscious. When I arrived (in the hospital), the doctors were trying to revive his heart. I guess his heart failed. It wouldn’t respond,” Edmond said.

Shortly before Monday noon, Jimmy Policarpio, Maceda’s chief of staff for 16 years, said Maceda was deemed “clinically dead” with a life support machine connected to him. Reports went around that the 81-year old former senator passed away around 11:30 am.

Another son of the late solon, lawyer Ernest Maceda, denied the reports but stressed they are not “expecting miracles.”

Maceda was a senator for three terms– one during the pre-martial law Congress and two after the 1986 EDSA revolution. He was Senate President from 1996 to 1998 during the time of former President Fidel Ramos. He succeeded Neptali Gonzales Sr.

His profile posted on the official Senate website showed he began his term in the Senate in 1971 but it was cut short following the declaration of Martial Law in 1972.

His bill, later known as the “Maceda Law,” granting protection to real estate buyers on installment basis, was the only measure signed into law prior to Martial Law’s declaration.

After breaking away from then President Ferdinand Marcos over the Martial Law declaration, Maceda went on exile to the United States where he became the aide and adviser of the late Sen. Benigno S. Aquino.

After Martial Law, he was again elected in the Senate in 1987 to 1992 and from 1992 to 1998

During his stint as senator, he gained the moniker “Mr. Expose” for revealing government anomalies and controversial issues in his privilege speeches.

Among his high profile exposes was the PEA-Amari scam involving the overpriced purchase of reclaimed land in Manila Bay, which he tagged “the grandmother of all scams.”

Maceda also initiated the Senate investigation on the so-called ‘Brunei Beauties” – female celebrities who were allegedly into high-class prostitution in the oil-rich state

He was also the oldest candidate in the 2013 elections, wherein he failed in his bid to return to the Upper House.

He held five Cabinet positions, serving as Executive Secretary during the Marcos administration; Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources during Cory Aquino’s term; then Presidential Assistant on Community Development; Chairman of the Commission on Reorganization and Secretary of Commerce and Industry.

He was Philippine ambassador to the United States under the administration of former President Joseph Estrada.

The former senator had an outstanding record of public service spanning 43 years in high government positions. His career is marked by numerous outstanding achievements starting from his election at the age of 23 as the number one Councilor of Manila in 1959.

Because of his exemplary performance in the City Council, Maceda was named “Outstanding Councilor of Manila “.

Born in Pagsanjan, Laguna on March 26, 1935, Sen. Ernesto Madarang Maceda married former Marichu Vera-Perez. They are blessed with four children.

Senators mourned the death of Maceda, also a law professor at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and a columnist of a national daily newspaper”

“My deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of former Senate President Ernesto Maceda. May his soul rest in peace,” Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who is fighting lung cancer, posted on Twitter.

“RIP Manong Ernie Maceda former Senate President (and) contemporary of my father (former Senator Edgardo Angara),” Senator Sonny Angara also posted on Twitter.

Drilon, in a statement late Monday night, said he joined the entire nation in mourning Maceda’s passing.

“I send my sincerest condolences to his family and I pray that the Lord will give them strength throughout this difficult time,” he said.

A Cabinet member at the young age of 29, Drilon said, Maceda went on to become an “effective bureaucrat and a principled lawmaker who was always for the people’s interest.”

“In the time that we shared in the Senate floor, I have known him as a tireless worker and a very “hands-on” Senate President, whose unique zeal and work ethic had led to many important laws that benefited our people,” said the Senate leader.

“I am proud to have worked alongside such a distinguished public servant. He will remain an inspiration to all of us,” Drilon said. (MCA)

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