YORAC, Haydee B.

From Bantayog ng mga Bayani (http://www.bantayog.org/node/221)

Haydee Yorac was a public servant, lawyer, nationalist, intellectual, teacher, and human rights activist. She taught law at the University of the Philippines, protested the Vietnam War and was a martial law detainee for three months.

Haydee fought for what was right and resisted abuse of power despite the harsh consequences which included her imprisonment during martial law. Haydee was appointed chair of the Commission on Elections from 1989 to 1991. She often clashed with the other members of the commission over crucial issues. She always adhered to principle. She was fearless, uncompromising, but passionate, earning her the respect of Comelec offi cials and employees, including public school teachers.

She became acting chairman of the Comelec from 1989 to 1999, a period marked by the Comelec winning high level of respectability. Comelec employees talk of the time when powerful Lanao politician Ali Dimaporo befriended Haydee, then acting chair, in the hope of infl uencing an election case in his favor. The story goes that the two ended as friends but Haydee Yorac decided impartially. Her leadership of the Comelec was never tainted by controversy. She was meticulous with facts and Comelec offi cials and employees learned to be alert and diligent for fear of being caught unprepared by her.

Haydee was a member of the National Unification Commission from 1992 to 1993, where she forged talks between the government and the communists, military rebels and other rebel elements.

Haydee also made a mark when she served as chairperson of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) from 2001 to 2006. PCGG was tasked to recover the Marcos stolen wealth and the coconut levy funds. Under her watch, PCGG recovered for the national treasury $683 million from the Marcos Swiss bank accounts. The PCGG also secured court decisions favorable to the government regarding shares worth billions of pesos from Marcos cronies. Yorac died of kidney failure and pneumonia, resulting from cancer complications. After her death many written tributes were made to her that attested to how she had gained the respect and love of her peers.

March 03, 1941
September 12, 2005