MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) – Just days after withdrawing his candidacy for president, former ambassador Roy Señeres died Monday morning, February 8. He was 68.
RJ Señeres told dzMM: "Nagulat din kami. Ang importante po rito ay he's already pain-free and he's resting well." (We were surprised. The important thing is he's already pain-free and he's resting well.)
In an interview with dzRH, the younger Señeres said that his father had been suffering from diabetes for a long time, and was confined at the hospital just last month.
A former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and currently OFW party-list representative, Señeres filed his certificate of candidacy for president in October 2015. He withdrew from the presidential race just last Friday, February 5.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, in a statement, said: "Nakikiramay kami sa kanyang pamilya. Siya ay nagtaguyod sa kapakanan ng mga manggagawa bilang tagapangulo ng NLRC at nang itinalaga siya sa Gitnang Silangan bilang Ambassador."
(We extend our condolences to his family. He stood up for the rights of laborers as president of the NLRC [National Labor Relations Commission] and when he was appointed ambassador to the Middle East.)
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said Señeres was a true public servant who cared about the welfare of countless Filipinos.
Baldoz added: "On a personal note, I will miss a long acquaintance and co-worker who was always cheerful, positive in disposition, and wore a smile as his second nature. I remember him as one of those close friends who was genuinely most happy when I was appointed Secretary of Labor and Employment in 2010... He never called me 'Madam Secretary,' but Lyn, always – his term of endearment."
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr paid tribute to Señeres as well, saying that he is a "great loss to our overseas Filipino workers' community, having spent most of his life to champion their concerns as well as those of the labor sector."
Presidential candidates also expressed their sympathies to the Señeres family.
"I am saddened by the news of his passing. I remember thanking him for his statement that foundlings should be treated equally in the eyes of the law and should be considered natural-born citizens," said Senator Grace Poe in a statement.
"Ambassador Señeres had integrity and was firm on his stand as a pro-life advocate... [He] will also be remembered for his cause to make better working conditions for the Filipino workers through their security of tenure."
In a statement, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also recalled Señeres' efforts to protect workers' welfare, adding that they share "a common position against contractualization."
Duterte and Señeres both studied law at San Beda College and belonged to the same fraternity – Lex Talionis Fraternitas.
"I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Representative Señeres as they mourn over his untimely death," Duterte said. "We are with you in this time of grief." – Rappler.com