Rodolfo Biazon, ex-AFP chief and veteran lawmaker, dies at 88

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Rodolfo Biazon, ex-AFP chief and veteran lawmaker, dies at 88
Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff and veteran lawmaker Rodolfo Biazon has died at 88 after a bout of pneumonia.

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:58 p.m.) — Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff and veteran lawmaker Rodolfo Biazon has died at 88 after a bout of pneumonia, his son, Muntinlupa Mayor Ruffy Biazon, announced Monday.

The former senator and Muntinlupa representative passed away at around 8:30 a.m. on June 12, Independence Day.

“It is perfectly fitting that today … the soldier who dedicated his life and laid it on the line in defending freedom and democracy, has been set free from the pains of this world,” Mayor Biazon said on social media.

He added: “He courageously fought his last battle like a Marine would, but it is the Lord’s will which prevails.”

Mayor Biazon said his father was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2022 and underwent the necessary treatment. However, former Senator Biazon caught pneumonia twice, the second being “more serious” than the first which further weakened his lungs.

“We send off a warrior and gentleman, secure in the knowledge that the faithful servant has fought the good fight and has finished the race,” Mayor Biazon said.

Former Senator Biazon is survived by his wife, Monchie, his children, Ruffy, Richie and Rino, and their spouses, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Details of the wake and burial will be announced soon, Mayor Biazon said.

Illustrious career

According to his biography on the Senate website, the late Biazon came from a poor family and had to take odd jobs to send himself to elementary and high school but still graduated with honors.

He had the chance to attend the US Military Academy and the US Naval Academy, but opted to study at the Philippine Military Academy instead where he graduated last of Class 1961.

But this did not deter him as he climbed the ranks of the military establishment, becoming PMA superintendent from 1986 to 1987, Philippine Marines commandant from 1987 to 1989, NCR Defense Command commanding general from 1988 to 1990, AFP vice chief-of-staff from 1990 to 1991 and finally, AFP chief from January 1991 to April 1991.

He became the first senator to have graduated from the PMA when he was elected in 1992 and served until 1995. He was elected again in 1998 and served until 2010.

His last post in the government was as a Muntinlupa representative in the House from 2010 to 2016.

Aside from crafting laws that provided benefits for soldiers, Biazon was also one of the main proponents of the reproductive health law that faced fierce criticism from the Catholic Church.

He was chairperson of the House defense panel when he was serving in the lower chamber and was part of the team that fought for the Philippines’ historic case against China over the West Philippine Sea.

Biazon remained active in political life even after his congressional career.

He had criticized former President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration over its handling of the Marawi siege and its “dangerous” and “confusing” stance on the West Philippine Sea.

In the crucial 2022 polls, Biazon, along with former Sens. Sergio Osmeña III, Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Wigberto Tañada, backed former Vice President Leni Robredo for president.

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