MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's adviser for Southern Tagalog, Secretary Jose Maria Nicomedes Hernandez, has passed away, Malacañang and an aide said Monday.
The 71-year-old Hernandez succumbed to pneumonia at a hospital in Tanauan City, Batangas, said his Chief of Staff retired Col. Marceliano Villafranca.
"The sudden passing of Secretary Hernandez is truly a great loss to those who knew him and those he was able to serve both at the local and regional level. We pray for the eternal repose of his soul," Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.
Hernandez served as Vice Mayor of Tanauan in 1971, and was later elected as provincial board member. He then became an assistant secretary of the interior department, and was later tapped as special assistant to former President Fidel V. Ramos.
Aside from serving as the Presidential Adviser for Southern Tagalog for Duterte, Hernandez was also the Regional president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and the Chairperson of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Calabarzon and Mimaropa.
There was no immediate information on who would replace Hernandez.
- With a report from Dennis Datu, ABS-CBN News