As the former chairman and managing partner of accounting giant SGV & Co., David L. Balangue’s work as an accounting and auditing veteran was unparalleled, bolstered by his 38-year experience with the company. He was commemorated by former Finance Secretary Cesar Antonio V. Purisima, who served as Mr. Balangue’s predecessor at SGV, as “one of the most intelligent and hardest working” among their peers.

As former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Balangue also played a role in building and sustaining the momentum that has fueled the economic development that the country is currently enjoying. To the Philippine business community, the loss of one of its best leaders is implacable.

But outside his career, Mr. Balangue also served as an advocate for a better, brighter future for the Philippines. The National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) National Council once elected him to serve as their chairman, playing a key role in the organization’s objectives of steering engagement in the 2016 national and local elections.

NAMFREL focused on poll watch, voters’ education, electoral reform, campaign finance, logistics tracking, and random manual audit in the 2010 elections. Until the automation of the elections, it was primarily engaged in parallel vote count or otherwise known as Operation Quick Count.

Aside from using his experience to ensure fair and honest elections in the country, Mr. Balangue was also an active proponent in the fight against government corruption, serving as the vice-chairman of the Coalition Against Corruption (CAC), an alliance of the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and the Church aiming to strengthen public participation in governance and to ensure the proper use of public funds.

In his role, he helped launch a fund campaign to counter misfits in the government. The campaign, called “Catching the Big Fish” project, was backed by a governance investment fund for transparency to help sustain its anti-corruption initiatives.

“We believe it is time to raise our targets while continuing to lay the groundwork for building a culture of antipathy for corruption in the local communities. We may or may not reel in the big fish in the next two years because of existing conditions but when those conditions allow, it will be much easier to finally land one,” Mr. Balangue had said, calling on those who possess reliable information on corrupt practices to cooperate with lawyers who will preserve evidence that may be used at the appropriate time.

In the course of his career, Mr. Balangue had assumed many roles, serving as an independent director on the board of several companies, including Roxas Holdings, Inc., Phinma Energy Corp., Holcim Philippines, Inc., Manulife Financial Plans, Inc., and Philippine Bank of Communications. He was also the past president of the Philippine Institute of CPAs, Management Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives Institute and The Manila Polo Club, Inc.In doing so, he had garnered significant influence and goodwill in the country’s business community.

But Mr. Balangue also understood the weight of that responsibility and played significant roles in helping steer the country towards a future in which he believed in. Without him, the country has lost one of its best advocates. — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran