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NAVARRO, Bea Czarina B.


Jovito R. Salonga, also known as “Ka Jovy,” is most known for being a human
rights lawyer during the Marcos regime. He was a strong leader of the opposition and
gave free services as a legal counsel to those imprisoned by the administration due to
differences in political inclination. Later on, when Marcos was ousted as president, he
chaired the Presidential Commission on Good Government as appointed by then
President Cory Aquino to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

Ka Jovy was born on June 22, 1920 in Pasig. It was just over two decades after
the declaration of Independence of the Philippines. It was this event that molded Ka
Jovy’s ideals of sovereignty and independence. From there, he was inspired to pursue

When he got into the University of the Philippines College of Law, it was the
height of the World War II. Thus, his studies were interrupted. But it did not hinder Ka
Jovy in the pursuit of his dreams—took the bar exams in 1944 and topped it with the
grade of 95.3% after his release in 1943 when he was abducted by the Japanese resistance
and was tortured thereafter.

Later on in life, he ran for a seat in the House of Representatives and won. He
also ran for a seat in the Senate in 1965 under the Liberal Party and also won with the
highest number of votes among the elected senators. That was when Ferdinand Marcos
won his first term as President of the Philippines. Ka Jovy, as a senator, had been
watching thoroughly the Marcos administration and it earned him the label, “nation’s
fiscalizer.” Among the irregularities that he exposed was the Benguet-Bahamas deal
involving Marcos cronies.

Ka Jovy again served the Senate for a second term in 1971. However, in 1972,
Marcos launched his dictatorship and assumed legislative powers. Hence, Ka Jovy lost
his job in the Senate but he remained a critic of said regime. He also provided free legal
services for the political prisoners of Marcos such as Ninoy Aquino.

In 1980, he himself was imprisoned at Fort Bonifacio as he was believed to be

part of a conspiracy to kill Marcos. This move by Marcos was not well-taken locally and
globally, thus, Marcos decided to release him but still charged him with subversion. He
and his family thereafter was exiled to Hawaii. When Ninoy Aquino was killed in 1983,
he immediately went back to the Philippines and became the leader of the opposition who
supported Cory’s presidential candidacy.

He ran again for a seat in the Senate in the 1987 elections and was proclaimed as
the senator with the highest number of votes. He was elected the Senate President and he
was most memorable when he rejected a new RP-US Bases Treaty. But his decision
costed him his political career. He ran for president in 1992 and lost. Then, he left
national politics.