8-term Ilocos lawmaker, Marcos ally dies, 85
by Xave Gregorio
The flag at the House of Representatives flew at half mast Monday (March 26) to mark the passing of eight-term Ilocos Norte lawmaker Roque Ablan Jr., the House media bureau confirmed. He was 85.
“My dad passed away peacefully this morning. Lucky to be at his bedside when he died,” said one of the lawmaker’s sons, Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Kris Ablan in a Facebook post.
“I know you’ll be watching me from heaven. I know you’ll be holding me and loving me. I know you’ll hear me from heaven, and you will clap so loud and you will always be so proud, my Lolo Roque I love you,” his grandson Laoag City councilor RB Ablan said in a Facebook post.
The solon’s cause of death has not been disclosed.
His son Kris said the former lawmaker’s wake would start on Tuesday (March 27) at Chapel 4, St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori Parish in Magallanes Village, Makati.
Ablan was a close ally of former President Ferdinand Marcos, having been his special adviser from 1973 to 1980 and his special envoy from 1983 until Marcos was toppled through a popular uprising in 1986.
According to his resume posted online, Ablan led the delegation of 49 lawmakers who flew to Hawaii to return Marcos’ remains to the Philippines.
He tried running as Ilocos Norte governor against Marcos’ son former Senator Bongbong in 1998, but lost.
The late Ablan had been Ilocos Norte 1st District representative beginning 1967 until 2010, except for the years 1999 until 2000, when he hit his three-term limit.
He chaired the House committees on housing, inter-parliamentary relations and dangerous drugs in different congresses.
As legislator, he was the principal author of the rental and death penalty laws, and the Magna Carta of Overseas Contractual Workers.
The lawmaker was also a decorated colonel of the Philippine Air Force, having received an Armed Forces Bravery in Combat medal and a special decoration for the Defense of Hoc Man Bridge in South Vietnam.
His resume also states that he was responsible for the signing of the memorandum of agreement between the Philippines and Soviet Russia in 1972 which opened diplomatic relations between the countries.
It also says he led congressional and navy officials in May 1997 to plant the Philippine flag on Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
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