Ex-ambassador Rodolfo Severino passes away

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2019 03:12 PM | Updated as of Apr 20 2019 04:26 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Former Ambassador Rodolfo Severino Jr. has passed away, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday. He was 82.

The envoy, whose career spanned 3 presidencies, passed away on the evening of Good Friday, his son, broadcaster Howie Severino said in a Facebook post.

"He had been enduring complications related to Parkinson’s disease for several years," the younger Severino said.

The late diplomat's wake will begin on April 21, 5 p.m., at The Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig, the post read.

Severino Jr. is survived by his wife, Rowena, their children Horacio (Howie), Rodolfo III (Kokoy), Gina, and Rhoda, as well as 6 grandchildren.

Ambassador Severino was born on April 27, 1936, and became a journalist in the 1950s before following his father, Rodolfo Severino Sr., into the foreign service in 1966.

"[He] played a key role in opening relations with China, and served as one of the country’s first diplomats in Beijing. But as a senior diplomat in the 1990s, Ambassador Severino sat across from his Chinese counterparts in early testy negotiations over Chinese incursions in Philippine seas," Howie said of his father.

The late envoy also served in the Philippines' diplomatic posts in Malaysia, Houston, and Washington, D.C.

He became DFA Undersecretary for Policy and the Office of Asia and Pacific Affairs, in 1992 until he retired in 1997.

After his stint in government, Severino became the second Filipino to be named secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He served in that capacity from 1998 to 2002, during the height of the Asian financial crisis.

"[He] devoted those years restoring global confidence in the region until it was back on track as a dynamic regional grouping," Howie said.

"Throughout his years in public service, Severino was deeply involved in promoting regional dialogue and developing the processes that enable Asian countries today to discuss common issues and resolve disputes," he said.

Nearly half a decade after being the regional bloc's 10th secretary general, Severino was tapped to head the ASEAN Studies Center at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore from 2008 to 2015.

Severino earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities at the Ateneo de Manila University and got his Master of Arts in International Relations degree from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He wrote at least 5 books about the Philippines and Southeast Asia.