Jovito Salonga is a distinguished nationalist politician, lawyer and leader of the anti-Marcos dictatorship movement. A staunch crusader for clean government and public education, Salonga, together with his law partners, defended numerous political prisoners during that martial law era.

During the reign of Marcos, he went on self-exile in the United States, but returned to the country in 1985, less than two years after the assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. He came back to help resuscitate the Liberal Party and unite the democratic opposition. A month later, the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed subversion charges against him and he was elected president of the Liberal Party.

After the 1986 People Power Revolution, Salonga served as the 14th President of the Senate of the Philippines from 1987 to 1992. In 1991, he led his colleagues in expelling the American military bases from the Philippines, ending more than 470 years of foreign military intervention in the country.

After losing in the 1992 presidential elections and following his retirement from government service, Salonga founded Kilosbayan (People’s Action), a forum for raising political consciousness and citizens’ participation in governance. He also set up Bantay Katarungan, a human rights watchdog which harnesses the talents and idealism of qualified law students from the best law schools in Metro Manila, to monitor the performance of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals and Sandiganbayan (Anti-Graft Court). In 2007, Salonga received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service.

Salonga’s father was a Presbyterian pastor and his mother, a woman of strong faith and spirituality. Salonga’s Christian beliefs and values, therefore, are deeply ingrained and have always served as his motivation and inspiration.

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