Hon. Yonah Martin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I too rise today with a heavy heart to pay tribute to our dearly departed colleague and friend, the Honourable Tobias C. Enverga, Jr., and express my sincere condolences to the love of his life, Rosemer. They would have celebrated 35 years of marriage in January 2018. And their three princesses, Reeza, Rocel and Rystle, were always in their father’s heart wherever he was, now in heaven. And to his staff, friends and community across Canada and in the world, and those who are present in the chamber now, please know that your loss is our loss, and you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Senator Enverga, Jun, we called ourselves cousins, bound by a shared history of bloodshed on the Korean Peninsula during the Korean War by his countrymen of the Philippines, who were the first to answer the call for help. On this foundation forged in sweat, tears and blood, we stood on the shoulders of the heroes who served and sacrificed their lives so that we might be strong and free.
He served tirelessly in his capacity as senator, the first Filipino-Canadian to be appointed to the Senate in 2012 by the Right Honourable Stephen Harper. Here in Ottawa, all of us knew how hard our colleague worked. He served on committees from morning till night. He rose in this chamber on debate to defend, to convince and to inspire. Without exaggeration, he probably had the most out-of-town guests of all of the senators in our chamber. They proudly attended the annual Philippines Independence Day flag raising ceremonies or attended his signature events and visited Parliament Hill and their senator.
The outpouring of love and grief at his sudden passing has been immeasurable. The hundreds of wreaths and floral arrangements lining the halls of the funeral home, the changing of the guards of his fellow Knights of Columbus, the choirs of angels whose voices filled the rooms and our hearts, the river of tears, the moving eulogies from family and friends showed us just how much everyone must have received from their beloved senator, long before his Senate appointment.
He was a man of deep faith and conviction. The Bible verses chosen for the Vancouver memorial service for his grieving B.C. community and friends, and scripture readings and songs that moved us to tears in Toronto, speak the truth about the late Senator Enverga and his divine legacy. John 15:12-13 says:
This is My commandment, that you love one another as I loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Jun’s love was far-reaching. His work was done with such joy and abandon. Thank you for your incredible service to Canada. Rest in peace, dear cousin, until we meet again.