Fmr US lawmaker Solarz dies in Washington DC

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 30 2010 08:28 PM | Updated as of Dec 01 2010 04:28 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former US Congressman Stephen Solarz, known for his role in exposing the corruption of the Marcoses, died on Monday in Washington DC.

The New York Times reports Solarz died from esophageal cancer.

Solarz was a 9-term Democratic lawmaker representing the 13th district of the state of New York.

In the 1980s, he headed the Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee of the US House's Foreign Affairs Committee, where he led a series of hearings on the Philippines.

The 1986 hearings revealed the misuse of foreign aid by then-President Ferdinand Marcos, his extensive wealth as well as the disclosure of Imelda Marcos's 3,000 pairs of shoes.

Solarz was once referred to by the late former President Corazon Aquino as the "Lafayette of the Philippines."

The comparison to the French general, who helped American revolutionaries in their quest for independence from Britain, was made at the time the Philippines was under the Marcos regime.

At the height of martial law, when US support for the Marcos regime was unquestioned, he was one of the few lonely voices who stood behind the democratic forces opposed to the regime.

Solarz has been out of the US Congress since 1992, but retained a keen interest in international affairs.

He last visited the Philippines last August 2009, to pay his last respects to the late former president Aquino.