Americas News

Ex-Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario dies on way to SanFo; Marcos, nation mourn


By Cherie M. Querol Moreno

Executive Editor

SAN FRANCISCO – Colma Mayor Joanne del Rosario will escort the remains of her brother Ambassador Albert del Rosario back home to the Philippines from California on Thursday, April 20.

Ambassador Del Rosario and his wife Gretchen were aboard a Philippine Airlines flight to San Francisco to visit his youngest sister when he suffered a fatal heart attack April 18, Mayor Del Rosario told Philippine News Today. (See related stories.)

“We were shocked because we were preparing for his first visit in a long time,” said the envoy’s sister.  “We are grateful to the doctor who responded to the crew’s call for a doctor aboard the aircraft.  We thank the PAL crew for acting swiftly in the emergency.  We also thank San Mateo County authorities for assisting with protocols in these cases.”

The Del Rosarios are expected to arrive in Manila on the morning of Saturday, April 22.  The vigil is scheduled will be held from 9 am to 10 pm, Sunday, April 23 and Monday, April 24, at the chapels of Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati City.  Funeral Mass is scheduled for Tuesday, April 25, at the main church.

The family requests that donations for the professorial chair in International Diplomacy at the Ateneo De Manila University be given in lieu of flowers.

Ambassador Albert del Rosario is remembered as a model statesman and diplomat.  As PH Foreign Secretary he led and won bAefore the Hague International Arbitration Court in 2016 his country’s fight against China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea.  He also spearheaded the signing in April 14 of the enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the US and PH to initiate the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty.

“ADR” as he was respectfully referred to by associates and staff, was Philippine envoy to Washington, DC in 2001-2006.  He is survived by his wife Gretchen de Venecia; children Albert del Rosario, Jr., Hans del Rosario, Ingeborg del Rosario, Margaret Isleta and Stephanie Innocentes; siblings Luis del Rosario, Jr., Amparo Palenzuela, Alicia Ong, Eduardo del Rosario and Joanne del Rosario.

He was 83.


MANILA – Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario —a key figure in the filing of a landmark ruling on the South China Sea that brought Beijing before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)— passed away at 83 on April 18.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said del Rosario died while en route to San Francisco in the United States. (See related stories).

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and other leaders  extended their condolences to the family of former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert del Rosario who passed away while in transit to the United States on April 18.

“I join the entire nation in mourning the passing of former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, an honorable diplomat and an esteemed public servant,” he said in a statement.

“I extend my deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of Secretary del Rosario, who was known for his patriotism and integrity,” he added.

The chief executive thanked the former Filipino top diplomat for his “deep commitment to our national interest and his unwavering devotion to our shared values

“I extend my deepest condolences to the loved ones of Secretary Albert F. Del Rosario. He was a consummate diplomat and an inspiring leader who led the DFA with integrity and unwavering commitment to public service. You will be missed, Mr. Secretary,” said DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo.

Del Rosario is described by the DFA as a “staunch advocate of protecting and advancing national security and promoting the rights and welfare of Filipinos both in the Philippines and abroad.”

He served as the DFA Secretary from February 2011 to March 2016 under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III.

During his time, Manila, in 2013, brought China before the Hague-based court and formally challenged the validity of its nine-dash line in the South China Sea (SCS).

Three years later, the Philippines won its case after the PCA ruled that China’s claims under the invisible demarcation are illegal.

Del Rosario stepped down from his post as DFA secretary due to health reasons but even after this, he continued to champion the Philippines’ sovereignty and rights over the West Philippine Sea.

Up to his death, he chaired the independent research organization Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi), which provided the public an in-depth analysis of issues influencing the country and the Indo-Pacific.

In a statement, the Stratbase ADRi said del Rosario has been a “leader who personified the highest level of statesmanship, integrity, and love of country”.

“He has been a champion of democratic values and a rules-based international order to sustain lasting peace, security, and prosperity for all,” it said.

“He has fought for an independent foreign policy that prioritizes the interests of the country and of the Filipino people. He believed that diplomacy is a great equalizer in international affairs and that each state had an equal voice in the global community regardless of their political, economic, or military capabilities,” it added.

In a separate tweet, Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko sent his condolences to del Rosario’s kin, saying his contributions to the Philippine-Japan relations and leadership to uphold the rule of law in the sea “will never be forgotten”.

Del Rosario had also served as the Philippine Ambassador to the United States from 2001 to 2006.

Prior to entering public service, he was on the Board of Directors of over 50 firms and his business career has spanned the insurance, banking, real estate, shipping, telecommunications, advertising, consumer products, retail, pharmaceutical and food industries.

No details have been provided as of yet regarding the cause of his death.