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Remembering 'Steady Eddie': Tributes pour in for former president Fidel V. Ramos

By AYIE LICSI Published Aug 01, 2022 6:53 pm

A great statesman, one of the most effective presidents, a real patriot. These were the words used to honor former president Fidel V. Ramos, who passed away at the age of 94 on July 31.

Ramos died due to complications from COVID-19 at Makati Medical Center and had been ill for months before his death.

Honoring FVR

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. shared his tribute via Facebook to Ramos, who was his late father Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.'s second cousin.

"Our family shares the Filipino people’s grief on this sad day. We did not only lose a good leader but also a member of the family... The legacy of his presidency will always be cherished and will be forever enshrined in the hearts of our grateful nation," he wrote.

Marcos Jr. has also declared a period of national mourning over Ramos, 10 days after the official announcement of his death.

During Marcos Sr.'s administration, FVR served as the chief of the Philippine Constabulary, commanding a security force that carried out the arrest and detention of political dissidents during martial law.

In 1986, he expressed his support for Corazon Aquino and helped end the dictatorship. He later served as Aquino's Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Secretary of National Defense.

Ramos and Enrile during martial law.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte called Ramos a "great statesman, mentor, and friend."

“It is with deep sadness to learn of the death of former president Fidel Valdez Ramos. I am one with his wife, Ming, his family, his friends, and the entire Filipino people in mourning the death of a great statesman, mentor, and friend. As we grieve for his loss, let us honor his legacy of service and his significant contributions to the country" he said.

Ramos' successor, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, described him as "one of the most effective presidents" the country has seen.

“I am profoundly shocked to learn of the passing of former President Fidel V. Ramos. I extend my deepest condolences to the family of my predecessor who will be remembered as one of the most effective presidents in our nation’s history,” he wrote on Facebook.

"A military man by training and an engineer and a builder by background, he brought to the presidency a different view of how problems should be dealt with, overcoming them in the most pragmatic, cost-effective, and fastest way. I mourn the loss of our former president whose many accomplishments will continue to inspire us."

Meanwhile, Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio described Ramos, a war veteran who fought in Korea and Vietnam, as "a real patriot."

"He was a real patriot — one who encouraged men and women in uniform to value their integrity as public servants... May we find inspiration from FVR’s life and the immensity of the legacy that he built out of his love of country and fellow Filipinos," Duterte-Carpio said.

Former VP Atty. Leni Robredo shared a photo of her and late husband Jesse with FVR, talking about he was a friend and supporter.

"Our family mourns his death and remembers what his presidency meant in the post-dictatorship presidency," she wrote, adding how she and Jesse are baptismal godfather and wedding godmother, respectively, to Ramos' grandson Patrick.

"During the 2016 election and during my Vice Presidency, I was able to visit him a number of times. He was also very vocal with his support all the time. Patrick sent me a video of FVR, in his sickbed, pledging his support for me during the last election," Robredo added.

Remembering 'Steady Eddie'

Ramos sat as president of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998. He became known as "Steady Eddie" for his slow yet methodical approach to governing and for his "Philippines 2000" program.

In a June 1992 article by Raissa Robles for the Philippine STAR, she described the military man as a "workaholic," who started his workday at 7 AM and went home at 11 PM, midnight, or 1 AM.

"He has no time for pleasure, even for naps," the reporters who covered Ramos told Robles.

The journalist also detailed the former president's sharp memory and how he could remember unaccomplished work.

"Once, while Ramos was about to deliver a speech at a grandstand, he handed this employee some papers and told him to do an assessment report," she wrote.

"'I forgot,' he says. Months later, Ramos asked him for it, saying ' I gave them to you when I was about to make a speech at the grandstand nine months ago.'"

His late sister Leticia Ramos-Shahani said FVR's obsession with details is because of his "military mind."

"A soldier always has to make sure he is fully equipped before doing battle," Robles wrote.