Ex-budget chief Boncodin dies

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 15 2010 06:58 PM | Updated as of Mar 16 2010 07:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Former Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin passed away on Monday afternoon.

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), in a medical bulletin, said Boncodin died at 2:05 p.m. due to cardiac arrest. She was 55.

In a press conference conducted by Dr. Enrique T. Ona, executive director of NKTI, said they tried to revive Boncodin for two hours, but she ultimately expired.

Boncodin was admitted to NKTI last March 10 due to difficulty of breathing. She was diagnosed with anemia and end-stage renal disease.

She had a kidney transplant 5 years ago due to a congenital polycystic kidney, which means she had a cyst in one of her kidneys. Her donor was her younger sister, Adelina, who was a perfect match.

However, Ona said Boncodin went into chronic rejection due to her poor compliance with medication. She was supposed to take immune suppressive drugs, but her consultancy jobs in Afghanistan and the United States made it difficult for her.

Ona said Boncodin's attending physicians also discussed with her a few days ago that she needed to undergo another kidney transplant to prolong her life.

Boncodin is survived by her mother and her younger sister.

Her remains were set to be brought to the Sta. Maria Della Strada Parish in Katipunan, Quezon City, Monday night.

Amiable Boncodin

Amiable, soft-spoken and consistently professional, Boncodin even postponed her kidney transplant until Congress passed the national budget in 2005.

She used to make fun of her kidney ailment, saying the disease made her look pregnant because of her swollen belly. Boncodin is single.

Boncodin joined the cabinet of President Arroyo in 2001. Her stint at the helm of the agency came to an abrupt halt in July 2005 when she joined other members of the economic team, now referred as Hyatt 10, which called for the resignation of President Arroyo after taped conversations over vote rigging plans for the 2004 national elections became public.

She was imbued with solid professional credentials. She was a government scholar and joined the budget department in 1978 as a senior fiscal planning specialist. She quickly rose from the ranks and became a budget undersecretary in 1991.

One of her many advocacies was institutionalizing transparency in government procurements.

Boncodin was a professor at the National College of Public Administration and Governance of the University of the Philippines and a lecturer at various universities, including the Ateneo de Manila University and the Lyceum of the Philippines.

In 2009, she joined the board of Petron Corporation as an independent director.

'A true professional'

"The Palace mourns the passing of the former Budget Secretary Emilia Boncodin and extends its condolences to her family, friends, and loved ones," a statement from Malacañang, sent by deputy Presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar, said.

"Sec. Boncodin was a true professional and a recognized expert in budgets and public finance, and played a key role especially in the fiscal reforms initiated during the initial years of the administration," the Palace said.

President Arroyo, her former boss, will be paying her respects to Boncodin once details of the wake are made known, the Palace said.

"We are deeply saddened at the passing of our esteemed former Budget Secretary and governance educator Emilia Boncodin," Presidential deputy adviser Sec. Ricardo Saludo said.

"In her decades of public service, Sec. Boncodin was widely respected for her dedication, integrity and professionalism. We convey our heartfelt condolences to her family, and we pray for the repose of her soul. Emy Boncodin exemplified the lofty ideals of our government service. She will be sorely missed," Saludo said.

Meanwhile, in an email message, former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita "Ging" Quintos Deles said Boncodin kept her condition from her friends.

"I learned from Adel that she had been growing weak in the last months. Emy never let on to us her worsening condition, however, as she continued with her meetings and work on her projects," Deles said.

"She was an outstanding public servant, always did her work quietly, always straightforward and truthful about the state of governance. She went as quietly as she had served with dedication, diligence, and amazing competence," Deles said. With reports from the ABS-CBN News Channel