MANILA - At 80, former Sen. Heherson "Sonny" Alvarez would exercise every day and go to the gym, which was why his passing due to COVID-19 came as a shock to his family, his eldest child said Tuesday.
Alvarez and his wife Cecile were admitted at the Manila Doctor's Hospital, according to their son Hexilon.
"Naalala ko pa 'yung usapan namin eh medyo naiinis siya, 'What’s taking the results too long? I feel fine. I’m worried about your mom. I can’t see her.' Sabi niyang ganun," he told radio DZMM.
"He sounded perfectly fine and healthy and after a few days my sister got in touch with me na they’re going to get intubated. Para akong sinuntok sa tiyan bigla. Nawalan ako ng hangin. Hindi po kami prepared sa nangyari."
Heherson was asymptomatic while his wife was a cancer survivor and had preexisting conditions like pneumonia, diabetes, and high-blood pressure, Hexilon said.
"For an 80-year-old, malakas siya. He would exercise everyday. He would go to the gym, he was very conscious about his health," he said.
Hexilon said his mother, founder of the Philippine Educational Theater Association, did not undergo plasma therapy unlike his father.
"Si mommy po ay isang miraculous COVID-19 survivor siya. Sabi nga ng kaniyang mga doctor sapagkat inspite of her and her underlying conditions natalo niya itong COVID-19," he said.
"Sa kasamaang palad ang aking ama ang talagang natamaan ng traydor na sakit na ito."
The later senator's remains were cremated Monday night in compliance with the health department's protocol while his wife will remain under isolation until May 1, Hexilon said.
"Sobra siyang nagdadalamhati sa nangyari. Umuungol nga siya eh. Kausap namin kahapon. We had to have her sedated kasi sabi niya 'oh my god di ko man lang siya nakausap.' Gusto niyang magalit pero di niya alam, kanino siya magagalit," he said.
"Nung nakita ko ngang pinasok si dad sa loob ng (crematorium), naka-plastic na itim, naka-bodybag napaiyak na lang din ako. Isang tao na katulad ng tatay ko na nakibaka, lumaban sa lahat tapos ganito na lang ang mangyayari sa kaniya."
According to doctors, Heherson would try to remove his tubes whenever he was awake, his son said.
"Napipilitan 'yung mag doctor na i-sedate siya para kumalma siya.
Hindi mapakali 'yan, he always wants to be able to do something," Hexilon said.
"He was like a pillar of strength for my sisters, myself and my mother. Naging source siya ng lakas ng pamilya namin."
Hexilon thanked the public for their support to his family and frontliners who help battle the pandemic.
"Nakiiisa ako sa mga biktima ng COVID-19. Sa mga frontliners maraming maraming salamat din, mga bayani," he said.
"Seryosohin po natin itong COVID-19, hindi ito biro, traydor 'to na sakit. Hindi dapat ginagawang parang wala lang."