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Remembering Joker Arroyo: 5 Qualities Of The Late Senator We Wish Other Politicians Will Emulate

May his passing open our eyes to what we really need to see from people in authority.
by John Paulo Aguilera | Oct 7, 2015
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Despite his shabbily made yet catchy 2007 campaign ad below, the Philippine electorate is well aware how seriously the late Sen. Joker Arroyo meant his five-word tagline.

Highly instrumental in both the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution and the impeachment trial of former President Joseph Estrada, wherein he was lead prosecutor, people knew they got their votes' worth judging from the work put in by the "man beholden to no one except to his country."

And as we pay respect to one of the country's most revered statesmen, who succumbed on Monday, Oct. 5, to heart attack, FHM remembers five qualities that made him stand out from his colleagues:


There was a reason why Joker was touted as the Scrooge of the Senate. Considered the thriftiest of all senators, reports indicate that he never flew out of the country using government money, let alone touched his P200 million annual pork barrel allocation.

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That's equivalent to P2.4 billion of the people's money saved over Joker's 12-year Senate term. Just imagine if all lawmakers were like him...


It was said that the man had only three staff members: his driver, his secretary, and his legislative assistant. Interestingly, no bodyguards. Stories from journalists throughout his political tenure tell the gratifying hassle of having to decipher Joker's handwritten press statements just because he didn't have an extra staffer. This also developed a genuine affinity between him and the press.


A graduate of the UP College of Law and Ateneo de Manila University, the audacious lawyer holds the distinction of handling more human rights cases than any other lawyer from 1972-1986. Having suffered as much as street rallyists during Martial Law (he vigilantly and bravely questioned the constitutionality of military rule), Joker co-founded the civic groups MABINI and FLAG together with other human rights lawyers.

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Watcha say, Manong Rody?


The exact opposite of Congressman Manny Pacquiao, Arroyo was known to have boasted a perfect attendance record as Makati's representative for a good nine years. He continued his impressive run as a senator, albeit sometimes coming in late. Still, you know what they say: better late than never.


According to his Senate profile, Joker's Statement of Assets and Liabilities has remained the same from when he began his political career in 1986 up to the present. The voluntary budget cuts—saving about eight million—meant nothing to his productivity; he was able to chair the blue ribbon, congressional power commission, and human rights and public services committees during his illustrious tenure.

Rest in peace, good sir. You will always be missed and remembered by the people.

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