Roy Señeres dies of cardiac arrest

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Roy Señeres (file photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — OFW Family party-list Rep. Roy Señeres died of cardiac arrest on Monday morning (February 8), just days after he withdrew his presidential candidacy.

Señeres, 68, died of cardiac arrest triggered by complications brought about by his long bout with diabetes, said his son, Roy Señeres Jr.

He told CNN Philippines that his father was confined in a hospital's intensive care unit on Sunday night after he had difficulty in breathing. He said his father suffered two cardiac arrests early Monday morning before he passed away after his third cardiac arrest at around 8 a.m. the same day.

The younger Señeres shared that despite his father's critical state last night, he was still very composed in ordering his son to continue focusing on the OFW Family party-list's campaign.

Despite the demise of his father, Roy Señeres Jr. thanked the supporters of his father.

"Maraming salamat sa lahat ng sumuporta sa aking ama. We are very sorry na ganito ang nangyari," he said.

The elder Señeres' funeral could be held at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque, but his son said the family is still finalizing the details of his wake.

On Friday, the presidential aspirant from Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka, withdrew from the presidential race, saying it was recommended by his doctors for health reasons.

Related: Señeres withdraws from presidential race

His daughter said his diabetes prevents him from holding up against the rigors of campaigning.

His camp was set to submit on Monday the official certificate of withdrawal with the attached medical records of Señeres after he was unable to personally appear before the Commission on Elections last Friday.

Who is Roy Señeres

Public service has been a passion of OFW Family party-list representative Roy Señeres.

He was born in Capiz and educated in Manila with a political science degree from the University of Santo Tomas and Bachelor of Laws from San Beda College.

Señeres joined the labor department and began as a hearing officer.

He rose from the ranks, from becoming a regional director to an executive labor arbiter at the National Labor Relations Commission.

He was promoted labor attaché with the rank of consul-general in Washington DC from 1990 to 1993, giving his family the opportunity to assist abused and exploited domestic helpers.

In 1994, President Fidel Ramos appointed Señeres as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.

The publicized case of overseas Filipino worker Sarah Balabagan happened during his four-year stint as envoy to the UAE.

Balabagan and other OFWs John Aquino and Wahida Malaydin, who were sentenced to death, were all pardoned and would later on go home through Señeres' efforts.

The former ambassador's close ties with OFWs led him to set up the OFW Family Club right after returning from the Middle East.

The non-profit organization assists and counsels OFWs and their families.

During the Estrada administration, Señeres chaired the national labor relations commission.

He led the agency for five years until 2005, when he quit after he questioned the Arroyo administration's legitimacy.

Señeres faced charges of sedition and rebellion after joining groups that called for President Gloria Arroyo's resignation.

In his continuing pursuit of OFW rights, he wrote the Bureau of Customs to reconsider its earlier decision to have random physical inspection of balikbayan boxes.

Bowing to public pressure, the agency revised its guidelines and instead subjected balikbayan boxes to mandatory X-ray scanning.

In his presidential bid, Señeres vowed to fight corruption and contractualization of laborers.

Señeres is survived by his wife Minerva Maaño and their six children.

CNN Philippines correspondent Isabella Montano contributed to this report.