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Former ambassador Rodolfo Severino Jr. passes away at 82

Updated

By MB Online

Rodolfo Severino Jr., former secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and former envoy to Malaysia, passed away Friday night, April 19. He was 82.

Rodolfo Severino Jr., former secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and former envoy to Malaysia (PHOTO COURTEST OF ASEAN / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Rodolfo Severino Jr., former secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and former envoy to Malaysia (PHOTO COURTESY OF ASEAN / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

His son, GMA News anchor Howie Severino, confirmed his passing in a Facebook post on Good Friday.

“I rushed back to Manila tonight to be with my father. His breathing was difficult, his blood pressure low and erratic. He was barely responsive. My son and I told him stories about some of our best times with him. Then I asked if he wanted to listen to music. He grunted what sounded like a spark of joy. I searched for a favorite from his Ateneo Glee Club days, “Some Enchanted Evening.” Without meaning to, I played the opera version of the Broadway hit; apropos because Dad was a great opera fan. I grew up listening to it and even mimicking it. I sang along softly in my pathetic tenor. Soon after the song ended, he stopped breathing and he was gone,” Howie wrote.

Howie also posted a note Saturday and said his father “had been enduring complications related to Parkinson’s disease for several years.”

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also announced Severino’s demise “with deep sorrow.”

A former journalist, Severino joined the Philippine Foreign Service in 1965 and worked for the country for over three decades as a diplomat.

Severino served as the country’s envoy to Malaysia from 1989 to 1992, as Consul General to Houston in 1979, and also held diplomatic posts in Washington, D.C. and Beijing.

He became DFA undersecretary for policy from 1992 to 1997 and the 10th secretary-general of ASEAN from 1998 to 2002, the second Filipino to have earned that distinction, according to DFA.

Severino was also the first head of the ASEAN Studies Centre at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)-Yusok Ishak Institute in Singapore from 2008 to 2015.

Born on April 27, 1936, he earned his master of arts degree in International Relations from John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and his bachelor’s degree in Humanities from the Ateneo de Manila University.

“He is survived by his youngest child Rhoda, his wife, Rowena “Weng” Romero Severino, two sons Horacio (Howie) and Rodolfo III (Kokoy) and adopted daughter Gina with the late Caridad Gorospe Severino, daughter-in-law Ipat Luna, and grandchildren Alon Severino and JJ, Angel, Anna, Anton and Elyza David,” Howie wrote on Facebook.

After cremation, the wake will take place on Sunday, April 21, 5 p.m. until Wednesday, April 24, 3 p.m. at The Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City.

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