MANILA, Philippines – Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez was always known to be a fighter. As a human rights activist, he was among those who stood up against the Marcos dictatorship.
He took up the cudgels for the environment and tried to serve, in various capacities in government, whether he was appointed by the president or elected by the people.
Alvarez died on Monday, April 20, after a nearly month-long battle with COVID-19. He was 80.
At the Senate building in Pasay City, the Philippine flag flew at half mast to mourn his passing. Colleagues, friends, and the people he had inspired paid tribute to him.
Read their full statements below:
The Palace expresses its deep condolences to the family, led by his wife Cecile, friends, colleagues of Senator Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez.
Senator Alvarez had a distinguished record as a public servant. He served the government for over forty years as a constitutional delegate, freedom fighter, legislator, and former Cabinet member.
We pray that the perpetual light will shine upon Senator Sonny, and that his soul, through the mercy of the Almighty, may rest in eternal peace.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto
Manong Sonny was a colleague in the House of Representatives during the 11th Congress.
He crafted policies, defended these on the floor, and interpellated in plenary with the skill of a seasoned parliamentarian and the undiminished passion of a patriot.
He had the gift of gab and the wisdom that went with it.
He always had a soft heart for the common tao and spent a lifetime championing their rights and freedoms, and at one time paying dearly for the courage of his convictions.
He spent his last years representing one client – Mother Earth – so that our grandchildren will have clean air, safe water, blue skies. He was no longer a politician with the next election in mind, but a statesman concerned about the next generation.
Federation of Free Workers, through its president, Sonny Matula
To Cecile Alvarez and family:
We in the Federation of Free Workers, extend our heartfelt sympathy on the demise of former Senator Sonny Alvarez.
Trade unionists remember him as a human rights lawyer and a freedom fighter. Senator Alvarez was active in the social democratic movement during the struggle against Marcos.
He was one of the youngest 1971 constitutional delegates – one of the few who opposed the dictatorship and refused to sign the Marcos-dictated Constitution. May time heal the sadness that you feel with the loss of your husband.
During these profoundly difficulty times, know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Tanggapin po ninyo ang aming taos-pusong pakikiramay.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (via Twitter)
My deepest condolences to the family of former Senator Heherson Alvarez. Senator Alvarez pushed for environmental protection during his tenure in the @senatePH. His contributions to the country will never be forgotten.
Former Kabataan party-list representative Raymond Palatino (via Twitter)
RIP Senator Heherson Alvarez, anti-Marcos activist, legislator, & environment advocate. He also helped in promoting Kabataan Partylist in 2003 and 2004 @KabataanPL
European Delegation to the Philippines (via Twitter)
The EU Delegation to the Philippines expresses its deepest condolences and sympathy to Mrs. Cecile Guidote-Alvarez and the family of the late former Senator Heherson Alvarez.
As former head of the Climate Change Commission, Mr Alvarez will be remembered for his work on the environment.