MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Bible Society lost a staunch supporter of the Bible Cause as its Honorary President Emmanuel N. Pelaez passed away on the evening of July 27, 2003 at the Asian Hospital in Muntinlupa City. The former Philippine Vice-President and Ambassador to the United States died of cardiac arrest following a major stroke he suffered in April. He was 87.
Ambassador Pelaez, as he was fondly referred to in the Bible Society circle, was an esteemed statesman having served as a congressman, senator, and Vice-President to President Diosdado Macapagal, father of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, from 1961-1965. He represented the Philippine government as Ambassador to the US during the Aquino administration. Filipino political leaders remember Ambassador Pelaez as “a pillar of strength and decency” who “brought honor and distinction to the second office in the land.” He was greatly admired by his peers for “passionately championing the cause of peace and the welfare of… coconut farmers.” The latter cause almost cost him his life in an assassination attempt in 1982 after leading copra traders in opposing the monopoly of the United Coconut Oil Mills on the local coconut industry.
Meanwhile, Bible Society people will always remember Ambassador Pelaez as a staunch supporter, faithful friend and leader of the Bible Cause. After the attempt on his life, having been assured and comforted with God’s Word in Psalm 31, Ambassador Pelaez decided to end his political career and spend the rest of his life sharing God’s goodness and His Word. He served as PBS President and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 1985 and 1993-96, and later as Honorary President for life. He was also a major proponent of the precept “a Bible for every home,” which is now the guiding principle of PBS’ Ilaw sa Tahanan (Light to the Home) Program.