What we know about Mel Sarmiento, Kris Aquino’s fiancé 2
Screengrab from Kris Aquino's Instagram post.
Culture

What we know about Mel Sarmiento, the man Kris Aquino said yes to spending the rest of her life with

To hear Kris say it, it seems PNoy appointed Sarmiento twice—first as DILG chief, and now as partner to his youngest sister
ANCX Staff | Oct 25 2021

The Internet was all aflutter at Kris Aquino’s Instagram post Sunday, October 24. The youngest child of Filipino icons Ninoy and Cory Aquino introduced to her 4.8 million followers on the social media platform the man she “said yes to spending the rest of my life with.”

The fiancé, who Kris refers to as her “best friend” and who she describes as an “overall good and patient man” is former Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by KRIS AQUINO (@krisaquino)

“It’s unreal how much more calm & peaceful i feel now that you’re here,” Kris wrote, adding that she and Sarmiento would never have met or reconnected if not for her brother, former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. It will be remembered that Sarmiento was appointed by PNoy as DILG Secretary to replace Mar Roxas, who resigned from his post to join the presidential race in 2016.

And now it seems PNoy appointed Sarmiento anew, this time as partner for his youngest sister. Kris believes that Noy, their “matchmaker in heaven,” is happy Sarmiento is around to take care of her. “Sure ako, ayaw nya talagang iwanan si ‘bunso’ na walang magbabantay at mag-aalaga na siguradong pinagkakatiwalaan niya,” says the now 50-year-old multi-media personality.

It was August of this year, more than a month after PNoy died, when Kris let on—via a birthday post on her Instagram—about a man she considers “special” in her life. She greeted the mystery man and thanked him “for coming into my life.” 

The host and actress said this person came when her grief was “unbearable.” She added that the recipient of the birthday greeting continues to give her “unselfish support and comfort,” and has been around thru “all her ups and downs, health woes, and tears.” She also said her son Bimbi likes him and that he makes her feel taken care of, secure, and safe.

Kris’ latest romantic partner was later identified by netizens as Sarmiento, and this was confirmed by the man himself. This was after one netizen lashed out against the actress, calling her “narcissistic” and saying she should get rid of her social media account. Sarmiento came to Kris’s defense and replied to the commenter—using Kris’s account. He said the greeting in fact made him happy and told the commenter, who was presumed to have worked with Sarmiento at the DILG, to show him and Kris some respect. Kris’ followers considered the gesture from the former DILG secretary sweet. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by KRIS AQUINO (@krisaquino)

Who is Mel Sarmiento?

Born August 11, 1962 in Manila, Sarmiento is the son of Engineer Oscar Sarmiento and Teresita Sevilla. Facebook posts by Sarmiento reveal that he comes from a family of public servants.

His great grandfather is Hugon Rosales who served as 1st Lt. of the First Battalion under General Vicente Lukban, and who later became mayor of Calbayog. Hugon’s brother, Honorio, served as chief justice and was member of the First Philippine Assembly. 

Through the years, Sarmiento also had uncles who served the government in different capacities—as congressman, governor, and senator. 

Thus, it was no surprise when Sarmiento got involved in civic work, as a member of the Rotary Club in Samar in the early 90s. And while he was adamant to join politics, according to an essay published on the Liberal Party’s Facebook page, he found the call to run for public office hard to ignore. He was 30 years old when he ran for and won the vice-mayoralty post in 1992 in Samar, but he failed in his bid to become mayor in the election that followed.

When he took a break from politics, he joined the Rural Bank of Calbayog City as director. 

Sarmiento returned to public service in 2001 and served three terms as mayor of Calbayog City until 2010. During his stints as the city’s chief executive, he earned awards and accolades from Galing Pook, Konrad Adenauer Medal of Excellence, and Competitive City Award.

Like then-Mayor Jesse Robredo, Mayor Mel was active with the League of Cities of the Philippines and became its Secretary General. “From where I stood, I think the secret of the two mayors is their leadership style,” wrote Ceazar Ryan Aquino on the Liberal Party’s Facebook page back in 2015. “They both managed the LGU like a CEO of a company while at the same time involving as many stakeholders as possible. Mayor Mel always arrives at the city hall on time. On time for him means 30 minutes before everybody else does. Hence he has his own key to his office.” 

Mel Senen Sarmiento
“Mel was a very hardworking Cabinet Secretary even if it was just less than a year that he was the DILG Secretary,” says former Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. Photo from Official Gazette

Like Mayor Jesse, Mayor Mel is also a “koboy” who is not fussy and would eat at nearby karinderyas in Calbayog. “You’d see him walk around the city conducting ocular inspections without bodyguards. And I think this made the people love him not as their elected official but the father of the city.”

“Mel was a very hardworking Cabinet Secretary even if it was just less than a year that he was the DILG Secretary,” says former Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. “He would brief and update PNoy on the various projects of DILG. He would go around the different LGUs and explain to the people the various programs of the PNoy administration. He ably followed the footsteps of Secretaries Robredo and Roxas as the last DILG secretary under PNoy.”

Sarmiento is currently chair of Galing Pook Foundation, a professor at the Local Government Academy and Development Academy of the Philippines, and chair of SOS Children’s Villages Philippines, which gives “long-term family-based care to children in need.” He became the representative of the first district of Western Samar in the 15th Congress in 2010, and he also became secretary-general of the Liberal Party.

In a 2015 interview, then Iloilo City Rep. (now Mayor) Jerry Treñas said Sarmiento is one of former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas’ “top advisers and problem solver.” 

With his wealth of experience in local governance, Treñas said Sarmiento was considered “the best man” to replace Roxas. Now is Sarmiento also “the best man” for the job of being Kris Aquino’s better half? As per her giddiness in last Sunday’s IG video, the lady seems to think so.