Monday, August 18, 2014

His Excellency RAUL GOCO, RIP

Yesterday, I received the sad news that Former Solicitor General and Ambassador Raul Goco joined the GOD Almighty in Heaven. Our condolences go with our prayers to provincemate Manang Marietta Primicias Goco and family!

My great memories of Solicitor General Goco were both professional and personal. Professionally, I worked with him when he was the General Counsel of Raul S. Manglapus’ Lakas-NUCD Party and the Presidential campaign of the then Secretary of Defense Fidel Ramos.  When he became Solicitor General under President Ramos, he gladly endorsed our law firm in Washington, DC to represent the interests of the Philippine Government in the United States.  We got the job. When he retired and became the Chairman Emeritus of a big law firm in the Philippines, he happily recruited me to be an “Of Counsel” of the firm.

Personally,we enjoyed hosting him for lunch at the prestigious and exclusive Metropolitan Club in Washington, DC during one of his visits here.  He was as happy using the choice Inaugural tickets during President Bill Clinton’s Oath-Taking that we gave him and Manang Marietta.

I also remember inviting him to be the Guest Speaker of the Ilocano Society of America (ISA) in a major event in McLean, Va. I was tasked to introduce him and enthusiastically described him as “Natarake (Very Handsome), Nalaing (Very Bright), ken Nasirib (VerySmart)!

I also enjoyed attending several diplomatic parties in the Philippines with him and his other diplomat-friends, both foreign and local.

Aside from being the solicitor general during President Ramos' term, Goco was also Philippine Ambassador to Canada. He was the only Filipino elected to the United Nations International Law Commission. He was also the first Filipino elected as president of the Law Association for Asia and the Pacific (LAWASIA) based in Australia and the first Filipino elected president of the World Jurist Association (WJI) based in Washington D.C.

A charter governor of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Goco was also the recipient of many International and local awards. He was the awardee of the coveted "World Outstanding Lawyer Award" at Barcelona,Spain; the Dean Robert Storey International Leadership Award at Dallas, Texas;and was chosen as one of the seven distinguished lawyers in the Asian region.He was also the Outstanding Manilan Awardee in Law.

Records also show that as solicitor general, he “won many cases before the Appellate Courts; the first ExpandedValue Added Tax, the ratification of the World Trade Agreement, the privatization program of the government, the President's line veto power; the first preparatory recall assembly under the Local Government Code; the LRTcontroversy, the Aquino vs. Beltran and Soliven libel case (as SolGen andcounsel for the People he sought the reversal of a lower court's judgment ofconviction in which he succeeded), the Death Penalty, etc. “

More significantly, Goco is given the credit for being “the one who litigated abroad and successfully recovered the Marcos Swiss accounts.”

After coming back to the US for health reasons, I certainly missed his company and will forever cherish the memories.

His Excellency RAUL GOCO, Rest In Peace!

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