Senior Statesman Nene Pimentel Passes Away at 85

The former Senate President passed away on October 20 after battling lymphoma.

Former Senate President Aquilino Quillinging Pimentel Jr. has passed away at the age of 85.

“Nene” Pimentel, as he is best known, was brought to the intensive care unit of St. Luke’s Medical Center – Global City earlier this week, and his family reported that the former Senate president was “very ill and currently under treatment.”

Pimentel is survived by his wife and six children, including his eldest son Senator Aquilino Martin Pimentel III, who also served as the Senate president for a time.

He was a staunch Marcos critic during Martial Law

With more then 50 years of experience in politics and governance, Pimentel legacy began in the early ‘70s when he became a vocal critic of then president Ferdinand Marcos and his declaration of Martial Law. Despite the threats that came his way, Pimentel persevered to protest Marcos’ attempts to rewrite the constitution, which resulted in his arrest and imprisonment in Camp Crame for three months in 1973.

At the time, Pimentel was the Misamis Oriental delegate to the Constitutional Convention (Concon), and also a father of a young family. When he was eventually released from incarceration, Pimental refused to sign Marcos’ new constitution.

He was arrested numerous times for speaking against the administration

This would not be the first time that Pimentel was arrested for speaking out against Marcos’ regime. The second arrest would come only a few years later when Pimentel denounced the results of the 1987 Batasang Pambansa elections, which saw Marcos’ Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) party dominate all the seats in the house without a single opposition candidate winning. Pimentel ran alongside Benigno S. Aquino Jr. under the Laban party. After speaking out against the Marcos administration, Pimentel was arrested again and incarcerated for two months in Camp Bicutan.


This would not be the last time as Pimentel faced even more arrests, trumped up charges, and incarcerations while he was the Mayor of Cagayan de Oro from 1980 to 1984. Pimentel battled with KBL rivals and the Commission on Elections, and even under house arrest, he protested Marcos’ dictatorial rule.

When his friend and ally Aquino was assassinated in 1983, Pimentel found renewed conviction to stand against the administration. He became a member of Cory Aquino’s inner circle, and was appointed the Minister of Local Government by Aquino when she won the 1986 Snap Elections.

He was a key figure in the second EDSA revolution

When then Senate president Frank Drilon was removed from his post after then president Joseph Estrada’s Juetengate scandal, Pimentel was put in place to replace Drilon. Pimentel was one of only ten senators that voted to open the second envelope, which was suspected to prove president Estrada’s corruption.

When the senate majority voted against opening the envelope, Pimentel famously resigned and walked out of the impeachment proceedings.

But this wasn’t this wasn’t the last he would encounter of the Juetengate scandal. When he was appointed the chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee, he pursued a number of corruption cases against top government officials, including Governor Luis “Chavit” Singson and his connections to the jueteng scandal.

He founded the current majority party, PDP-Laban

The father of the revered Local Government Code, Pimentel founded the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino party in 1982 to stand against the oppressive regime of then president Marcos. The party later merged with Lakas ng Bayan, which was founded by his colleague and ally Benigno Aquino Jr.

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Now known as PDP-Laban, the party is currently headed by his son, Senator Koko Pimentel, with President Rodrigo Duterte as the party’s current chairperson.

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