September 13, 2005 · Posted in: General, In the News

Haydee Yorac, 64

VETERAN activist and human rights lawyer Haydee Yorac passed away at 6:30 this morning (Manila time) in Chicago. She had been suffering from uterine cancer and sustained a mild stroke in 2003. She was 64 years old.

Yorac’s passing is an immeasurable loss to the nation. She was both fearsome and fearless, devoting most of her life to fighting the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and to upholding citizens’ constitutional freedoms. Since the restoration of democracy in 1986, Philippine presidents recognized Yorac’s brilliant legal mind and tapped her to serve in various capacities.

Shortly after Edsa 1, Yorac was appointed Commissioner of the Commission on Elections where she served for seven years. Yorac’s years in the Comelec were considered the golden age of the poll body. The Comelec has since fallen into disrepute, sinking to its lowest point with the revelation of the “Hello, Garci” tapes in which a Comelec Commissioner was heard getting orders from President Gloria Arroyo allegedly to fix election results.

Yorac also served as Chair of the National Unification Commission during the term of former President Fidel Ramos.  As NUC chair, Yorac dealt with various armed groups in the effort get them to sit and discuss ways of resolving the festering rebellion and insurgency in the country.

Following an unsuccessful attempt to run for the Philippine Senate in 1998, Yorac devoted her time to private practice as partner in the Yorac Azcuna Sarmiento Arroyo and Chua law offices.

In 2001, Yorac was named Chairperson of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the first government agency formed in 1986 by former President Corazon Aquino. Its mission was to recover the ill-gotten of the Marcos family. It was during Yorac’s term that the PCGG was able to recover $683 million in Marcos assets hidden in Swiss banks.

For her accomplishments, Yorac was given the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for Government Service in 2004. In giving her the award, the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation recognized her “building confidence in government through service of exceptional integrity and rigor and her unwavering pursuit of the rule of law in the Philippines.”

A political prisoner during the martial law years, Yorac’s was known as “outspoken and incorruptible,” traits that the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation also recognized in naming her one of its awardees.  

"Our values and personal convictions dictate the direction that we take and the stand that we make on moral issues that affect our work, in particular, and the country, in general. The desire to make government more effective and efficient in its mandate of good governance is of paramount importance. It is the driving force that compels many of us to accept responsibilities in government, despite the odds," Yorac said when she accepted the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

Her failing health forced her quit the PCGG in April this year, although there were also reports she had been pressured by Malacañang into resigning.

Yorac graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Law in 1962 and obtained her Master of Laws degree from Yale University in 1981.  She has trained generations of the country’s best lawyers, having been a law professor at UP for decades.

29 Responses to Haydee Yorac, 64



September 13th, 2005 at 12:38 pm

nakikiramay ako….

bakit nagkakaubusan na ng matitinong tao sa government natin?



September 13th, 2005 at 12:45 pm

Another great light faded away…God help us all.



September 13th, 2005 at 12:52 pm

yes haydee is what you call a good governement official. sayang talaga sa mga taong ito. Condolences, po sa family ni Miss Haydee Yorac.



September 13th, 2005 at 1:00 pm

If only she run for public office i absolutely voted her. believe din ako sa paninindigan ng taong ito. Sayang… Condolence nalang po sa family niya.



September 13th, 2005 at 1:36 pm

I would like to believed that our country have been cursed by bad karma. One by one, our good and well-principled government officials are dying. My deep condolences to the family of Atty. Haydee Yorac. Her extraordinary performance as PCGG Chair and COMELEC Commissioner will linger in our hearts.



September 13th, 2005 at 2:30 pm

indeed miss haydee yorac is a big loss to the country just like mr. raul roco… a true servant of the people. my condolences to her family.

she did run before in the senate but sad to say, she lost… mas pinili pa ng mga tao ang astista…. sayang na pagkakataon… again because of the ignorance of a lot of people… a wasted opportunity.



September 13th, 2005 at 2:31 pm

She is a great lost to our country. Talaga sigurong minamalas tayo dahil isa- isa ng namamatay ang mga mabubuting government official. My condolences to the Yorac family.



September 13th, 2005 at 2:34 pm

my condolences



September 13th, 2005 at 3:08 pm

I’m just praying that hydee yorac will be replaced by a group of fearless and incorruptible filipinos who will fight fearless corrupt officials.

I hope hydee yorac inspires us. Let us all echo and reflect her advocacy.

A call for ABS-CBN 2 and GMA-7, please let us know how hydee fights for a better Philippines.



September 13th, 2005 at 3:39 pm

Haydee Yorac, isang inspirasyon

(Ang sanaysay na ito ay unang nalathala sa Pinoy Gazette at ipinost sa ederic@cyberspace noong October 13, 2004 @ 08:06. Muli itong inilalathala bilang pag-alaala kay Haydee Yorac.)

May mga nagsasabing habang nagkakagulang daw ang isang tao, unti-un…


The J Spotter » Blog Archive » Haydee Yorac passes away at 64

September 13th, 2005 at 4:04 pm

[…] From Inside PCIJ, former Commissioner of the Philippine Commission on Elections and Chair of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, Haydee Yorac, has passed away in Chicago at 64. […]



September 13th, 2005 at 4:09 pm

To Ms. Yorac, farewell as you journey to heaven where our Lord will welcome you in open arms. Ms. Yorac: lawyer, public servant, leader and a lady.



September 13th, 2005 at 4:09 pm

Sayang naman sya. My condolences to her family and friends.

At least marami syang mabubuting nagawa habang nabubuhay pa sya. May she rest in peace.



September 13th, 2005 at 4:22 pm

I don’t think there is still a group of fearless and incorruptible Filipinos
who are willing to fight the fearless corrupt officials – kasi wala ring mangyayari.

Condolence to the Yorac family..



September 13th, 2005 at 4:31 pm

May you rest in peace Commissioner Yorac. Your wisdom & untarnished reputation will be forever remembered by Filipinos. Condolence to her family & loved ones.


José Rizal II

September 13th, 2005 at 7:51 pm

Goodbye Haydee…




September 13th, 2005 at 10:59 pm

Rest in peace Haydee. You will be sorely missed.


Partisanong Lagalag

September 13th, 2005 at 11:27 pm

Haydee’s passing is a great loss to our country.

Unti-unti nang nauubos ang mga matitino sa ating bayan…Punongbayan, Rocco, now Yorac.



September 13th, 2005 at 11:45 pm

to ms yorac, may you enjoy the everlasting joy and fulfillment that heaven brings.

to all of us left here on earth, have you seen ms jessica soho’s interview of ms yorac? 24oras re-ran some portions of it last night. a portion of that interview that just affected me so greatly. ms yorac was asked, is there hope for the filipino people? she answered, reluctantly, sometimes there is; sometimes there is none! for a lady with unparalleled patroitism, it really speaks volume when she is hesitant to predict hope among her people.



September 14th, 2005 at 12:44 am

Too bad we, the Filipinos, let her down during the senate election.
BUt still she served us nonetheless, with much conviction and perseverance.
Wishing all our government officials has her character.
I bet the Marcoses are having a royal celebration right now!



September 14th, 2005 at 11:36 am

bakit si haydee yorac pa ang namatay, bkit hindi na lang si gloria?



September 14th, 2005 at 3:21 pm

Nakakalungkot. On the other hand, we salute you in your efforts in recovering Marcos’s ill-gotten wealth. But this won’t stop there. Nasa limelight pa rin ang mga Marcoses. Wag nating kakaligtaan na may utang pa sila sa masang Pilipino. Ang utang, dapat pagbayaran.



September 14th, 2005 at 3:24 pm

Haydee was a model for all of us…let us pick up the torch she left behind and carry on with the struggle she started.



September 14th, 2005 at 11:44 pm

nakakalungkot….. pero mahalaga may LEGACY silang iniwan that would always remind us mga pinoy may matitino at matuwid pa din (kaso mo paubos ng paubos).. now, nasa atin na ang hamon…. ang hamon na baguhin ang ating sambayanan, ang mamamayan imulat sa tamang landas… simulan natin sa ating sarili…

muli, paalam +Prof. Haydee Yorac +



September 15th, 2005 at 12:01 am

/ | + Prof. Haydee Yorac
| | March 4, 1941 – Sept 13, 2005
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o._|__|_.o * * –primo * — paalam, Prof. Haydee Yorac

… legacy of dedication, professionalism and integrity in public service …..


Pinoy OFW

September 15th, 2005 at 1:01 am




INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Comelec urged to investigate electoral fraud

September 15th, 2005 at 4:34 pm

[…] The PPCRV is a lay movement advocating for electoral reform. It was once headed by Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Haydee Yorac who passed away last Tuesday, 13 September 2005. […]



September 22nd, 2005 at 10:21 am

…there pass a lady Neither the lords, dogs of war; warriors amongst the fiercest all to cower, for the lady must prevail, a winner all the time. The lady deserves internment where real heroes rest, I grieve for you Lady Haydee…you are such a loss, lucky I am having known your person, a real heroine…



September 24th, 2005 at 2:50 am

nakikiramay po ako, sana lahat ng government official katulad nya, fearless and has moral integrity.

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