Latest Stories

Remembering my daddy, Doy Laurel

On his 84th birthday last Sunday, a daughter remembers the lessons and last days in the life of a much-missed husband, father and statesman


THE LATE Vice President Salvador H. Laurel: person of conscience and integrity

It was just a few days before daddy passed on to the next life that cold wintry day in January, 2004 when he softly whispered to me, “All that will be left are the memories…”

And so, on the occasion of his 84th birthday, thousands of precious images of him come to mind, some of which I would like to share so that he can continue to live on in our minds and hearts.

Daddy was fearless, especially when he believed in what he was fighting for. Freedom was non-negotiable, and he was willing to risk everything during the martial law years in his fight for freedom. I remember him telling my mother and us children to be ready to fend for ourselves in case anything happened to him.

When “tito” Ninoy Aquino was assassinated on Aug. 21,1983, my father was not afraid to voice his outrage at the murder of his childhood friend. When snap elections were held in 1985, he dared to take on the leadership of the Unido, whose 25,000-strong delegation elected him as presidential standard bearer.

When he was asked by Cory Aquino to step down to the vice-presidential slot, it was a most difficult decision to make. (The convenors’ group led by Chino Roces asked Laurel to run as Cory Aquino’s vice president.—Ed) Daddy hied away to our house in San Pedro to pray and ask for guidance. Just before he made that selfless decision which dismayed the family and his loyal followers, he told me, “That’s what papa would have done— it’s for the country.”

Later as Vice President and Secretary of Foreign Affairs, he again gave of himself to represent the country as best as he could so that the new government would be recognized by the nations of the world. He performed his duties with dignity, fairness and compassion. Up to the time he resigned from the Cabinet, he worked for the career diplomats to be justly rewarded.

Daddy ran for President in 1992 to “offer himself as an alternative.” In spite of the limited resources he had compared to those of his opponents, he fought hard, still determined to finish the race with his head held high.

No monetary compensation

When newly elected President Fidel Ramos offered him the chairmanship of the National Centennial Commission, he was grateful for the opportunity to be of service to the country. He accepted the offer, but on condition that he would not receive any monetary compensation. He would then spend the next five years on an intensive campaign, fanning the flame of love for country at home while strengthening ties with foreign nations.

What did 30 years of my father’s public life teach me?

I learned about selfless love and the importance of forgiveness. As he would say, “Never mind if others wrong you because they will have to answer for that. What is important is that you have not wronged anyone, and you can sleep with a clear conscience.”

Daddy was never vindictive toward those who maligned him and dishonored agreements, those who betrayed and abandoned him. Even if some well-meaning friends chided him for being honorable to a fault, he suffered the stabs of ingratitude in silence and still managed to smile while the rest of us wept over the many injustices heaped upon him.

“In the end, it is not money, position or power that matters—it is your faith in God, the love of your family and the continuing concern for your country.”

After almost a year of hospital confinements, medical tests, aggressive chemotherapy and miraculously surviving two comas, daddy wanted to go home.

Finally liberated from Stanford Medical Center, he asked if he could fly to Manila. The doctors said he wouldn’t survive the trip. So he decided that he wanted to spend whatever time he had left with the family.

As soon as we arrived in our rented Odell home, daddy requested for music. Cocoy played the piano and sang, while Iwi and the rest of us joined in singing his favorites.

Daddy was happy. For seven days, mommy, six of us children, two sons-in-law and a granddaughter, and very close family friends tried to make him as comfortable as possible, showering him with all the love and affection we had been saving for him while he was in coma.

And when his time came, we surrounded him with a chain of prayers, kisses and embraces, singing “I love you Lord!” while the priest gave him the last rites. Daddy was at peace and with the Lord—free from pain, suffering and human strife. He had received the best reward.

Thank you, dearest daddy, for these treasured memories and for blessing mommy, my siblings and me with your life’s teachings. You will forever live on in each one of us and the generations ahead. You are and will always be our hero, and we love and miss you so very much! Happy, happy birthday!

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Doy Laurel , History , Lifestyle , People , Politics

  • http://twitter.com/michaelpancho Michael Liwag Pancho

    Kudos to Doy Laurel, the very first leader and politician I’ve ever met personally (during a campaign sortie that me and my mother attended when I was a 4 year old kid). A great man and will go down in the annals of history as one of its great leaders. Thank you for writing about him, Suzie. All the best!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SYG36KOOLRY47VA3ICPJJ5CQTQ ADD

    What about the pabaon in Clark Expo?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GEL5M676WZ7BLFR4SNH66WKRZM Bigboy I

       kasama dapat dun si ramos sa pinakakasuhan ni erap yun lang nung si pgma na nakaupo nakalimutan na. Dapat ungkatin para malaman kung me ebidensya ba talaga laban sa kanila dalawa.

    • http://www.facebook.com/manlyg Manly Garcia

      He was not corrupt… never. All these talk about money changing hands never reached him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/manlyg Manly Garcia

    He was not corrupt… never. All these talk about money changing hands never reached him.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  2. Lover’s quarrel linked to hunger – study
  3. Encounter with a ‘Mangkukulam’
  4. ‘Kamias’ for fever, ‘siling labuyo’ for headache–first aid in the kitchen
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. ‘Heaven is for Real’: Nonfiction book on life after death reaches screen
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  8. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors


  • Aquino urges public to help prevent brownouts, keep aircon usage low
  • 292 missing, 3 dead in South Korea ferry disaster
  • Romblon mining site collapses; 3 killed
  • South Korea says 295 missing in ferry disaster
  • OFW who returned home from UAE tests positive for MERS-CoV – DOH chief
  • Sports

  • China, Taiwan rout foes for 3rd, 5th places in Asian Club volleyball
  • Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  • Fielder ends HR drought, Rangers beat Mariners 5-0
  • Power Pinoys salvage 7th place in Asian men’s volley club championship
  • Knicks prevent Nets from clinching fifth seed
  • Lifestyle

  • Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Entertainment

  • Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s greatest hits
  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • 2NE1 returns to Manila with “All Or Nothing” Tour
  • Business

  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Make a stylish statement with the all-new Yaris
  • Hearing set in Olarte case
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism
  • 2 PCG men ordered arrested over Balintang Channel shooting
  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
  • Relief worker draws inspiration from helping Yolanda victims
  • Philippines says peace pact should hold despite clashes