MANILA — Former Senator Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez has passed away on Monday following a long bout with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
He was 80 years old.
Together with his wife, theater group founder Cecile Guidote, Alvarez had been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 according to reports as early as March 31.
Alvarez previously served as congressman for Isabela province.
Meanwhile, his wife Cecile remains under intensive care. Mrs. Alvarez developed a program for national theater which won her a Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1972.
According to ABS-CBN News, Alvarez’ son, Hexilon, confirmed the passing of his father to his Alpha Phi Beta fraternity brothers.
Alvarez is also a member of the fraternity.
According to former Senator Joey Lina, his colleague in the Senate from the late 1980s up to the early 1990s, Alvarez succumbed “despite the gallant efforts of his doctor and the blood plasma convalescent therapy, and the encouraging signs after that.”
Alvarez underwent an experimental plasma treatment for the disease last week, according to his children.
His wife, Philippine Educational Theater Association founder Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, also acquired the disease but her condition has improved.
Alvarez served in the Senate from 1987 to 1998, where he focused on enviromental legislation. He was chairman of the Senate committee on environment for 10 years.
After serving for 2 terms in the Senate, he became a congressman representing the 4th district of his home province, Isabela, from 1998 to 2001.
Among the laws he pushed in Congress were The Clean Air Act and the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act.
After the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in February 1986, Alvarez was appointed as minister of agrarian reform.
Alvarez helped craft the Aquino government’s centerpiece social reform policy, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), before running for a seat in the Senate in 1987.
Alvarez was the principal complainant in the impeachment case filed against former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada in the lower House in 2000.
After Estrada was ousted from office in January 2001, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed him secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, where he continued his green advocacy.
Alvarez was one of the youngest delegates to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, and was one of the leaders of the anti-Marcos movement after martial law.
He is survived by his wife and two children. (ia/SovereignPH.com/With reports from ABS-CBN News)