Ramos remembered as PH's 'stabilizer' in government, economy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 1) — The late President Fidel V. Ramos can be remembered as the country's "stabilizer" in fighting for democracy and improving the economy in his years of public service, former senator Franklin Drilon, a colleague and friend, said Monday.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source, Drilon, who served as Ramos' justice secretary from 1992 to 1995, described the late president's principles and work ethic as well as his relationship with him during the time they worked together in politics.

"I fully agree with the branding of President Ramos today as the 'stabilizer in chief' because I saw how steady he was in support of democracy when we were in the Cabinet together.

"President Ramos was working from his house to his office, and in between. In his car, he would be working on his papers while he was moving from one place to another. Really steadfast. I have not worked with a guy who is stronger on the rule of law than the late President Ramos," the former senator added. "He would ask, 'what was the rule here?' His background was in AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) yet he was deep in commitment to observe the rule of law."

Asked about what he thinks were the greatest accomplishments of the late President, Drilon cited Ramos' contributions to the government and the country's economy.

"Two things. Number one, he stabilized the government. We owe it to him apart from the fact that he played a key role in EDSA Revolution. After the EDSA Revolution, President Ramos played a critical role in making sure the foundations of democracy are observed," Drilon shared. "He was called 'Steady Eddie,' a stabilizer in chief."

Drilon added: "He laid the foundations for a stable economy so we would graduate from 'sick man in Asia' in to a rising star in Asia in terms of economic development. He worked hard on the removal of monopolies, he worked hard on the tax structure."

Before Drilon worked under the Ramos administration, the two of them served as Cabinet members of the late President Corazon Aquino, whose death anniversary is also being commemorated on Monday. Drilon had served as Aquino's labor and justice chief while Ramos became her AFP chief-of-staff and defense secretary, before he eventually became the 12th President of the Philippines.

Drilon also shared that both Aquino and Ramos were principal sponsors during his wedding to his wife Mila. He said that perhaps now, "both of them are enjoying each other's company in heaven."

A World Bank report written by Romeo Bernardo and Marie-Christine Tang and published in 2008 said that while Ramos started his presidency when the country was in a low economic position, he enlightened many Filipinos to the idea that "they could join the ranks of their prosperous Asian neighbors."

"At the end of the day, he had been most successful where the reform effort entailed liberalization and deregulation, that is getting government out of the way to foster market efficiency," the report read.

Ramos was also a key figure in the EDSA Revolution. After serving as former AFP vice chief of staff and chief of its major service branch, the Philippine Constabulary, Ramos publicly broke ties and even helped in toppling his second cousin, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos during the uprising.

Ramos died on Sunday at the age of 94, his family confirmed in an official statement. President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr and Vice President Sara Duterte, former President Rodrigo Duterte and VP Leni Robredo, along with other politicians expressed their condolences to the bereaved family.

READ: Former President Ramos dies at 94 

READ: PH mourns death of former President Fidel V. Ramos