MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Former Agriculture Secretary Salvador Escudero III, father of Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero, passed away before dawn Monday after battling cancer for two years, the senator confirmed.
Escudero said his father passed away in his sleep at around 3:30 a.m.
"Yes, in his sleep at 3:30 a.m.," the senator said in a text message.
The older Escudero, 69, was the incumbent representative of the 1st District of Sorsogon. He was also the chairman of the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture.
He was the former Agriculture Secretary under the Ramos administration.
His remains will be brought to Mt. Carmel Church in New Manila, Quezon City.
He is credited for sponsoring amendments to the Local Government Code, pushing for the automatic promotion of government officials and employees upon retirement from government service, and restoring the criminal liability of a person under 18 years of age.
He previously served as congressman from 1987 to 1988, and 1984 to 1986.
Flags at half-mast
Flags at the Batasan Pambansa are currently flown at half-mast to observe the death of Escudero.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said the Sorsogon congressman is a great loss to the lower House.
Gonzales noted how hardworking Escudero was, even going to work in a wheelchair just to fulfill his mandate.
"His brilliance and vast experience as a legislator and his commitment and dedication to duty - presiding over committee hearings and actively participating during plenary sessions even on a wheelchair - is a perfect role-model for public officers that should be etched in the annals of Philippine public service," a statement posted in the House of Representatives website said.
Despite his family's loss, Senator Escudero will attend the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) meeting later on Monday, Supreme Court spokesperson Maria Victoria Gleoresty Guerra confirmed.
JBC will again meet today to come up with a shortlist for the next chief justice. It failed to come up with one last Friday after failing to reach a consensus on the disqualification of candidates with pending cases.– with ANC, dzMM