Tributes pour in at wake of ex-DFA chief Albert del Rosario

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 23) — Former government officials who served with ex-Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario remembered his patriotism and kindness on the first day of his wake on Sunday.

1-Sambayan, the coalition where del Rosario served as convenor, sponsored the mass held at the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati. Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas presided over the mass.

Family, friends, and colleagues gathered to pay tribute to the man whom they said deeply loved his country.

"Secretary del Rosario was the man responsible for initiating the arbitration at The Hague against China, where we won... This is the victory that benefits present and future generations of Filipinos and we owe a debt of gratitude to Secretary del Rosario," said retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said the win at The Hague was de Rosario's "finest hour, his greatest legacy as a public servant" and thanked the former ambassador for his friendship.

"Thank you for the gift of friendship. Thank you for the gift of patriotism. I know Mark Twain would be clapping now for him because to use his words, he was supportive of his country all the time and the government when it deserves it," she said.

Other former officials who attended the wake include former senators Franklin Drilon and Bam Aquino, former Commission on Audit commissioner Heidi Mendoza, former presidential peace adviser Ging Deles, and former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales.

United States Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, and Ballsy Cruz, the sister of former president Noynoy Aquino, were also present to pay their last respects.

Del Rosario's wake is open to the public until Monday and his funeral is scheduled on Tuesday.

Del Rosario died while en route to California on April 18. He was 83.

In a statement Saturday, his family said the former diplomat died of a heart attack.