MANILA, Philippines?Former Foreign Minister Manuel G. Collantes, husband of the late heiress Consuelo ?Chito? Madrigal, died early Thursday morning at the age of 91.
Doctors attributed the cause of his death to cardiopulmonary arrest.
A native of Tanauan, Batangas, Collantes graduated with a law degree from the Far Eastern University in 1940, passing the bar the same year. He worked briefly as an assistant attorney at the Claro M. Recto law office and also taught International Law and Diplomacy and Parliamentary Practice at his alma mater.
Collantes served in various capacities in the foreign service, from Legal Assistant Secretary and Aide-de-Camp to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs before he was appointed Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs in 1984 under the Marcos government.
In 1984, he ran?and won? as assemblyman for Batangas province.
Until the time of his death, he was a director of United Pulp and Paper Company, Inc.
In the 1970s, Collantes married Madrigal, whom he met in Washington DC when he was second secretary and consul of the Philippine Embassy in 1949.
At the Senate Thursday, where she presided over a three-hour Senate inquiry into a sex video scandal involving Dr Hayden Kho and actress Katrina Halili, Sen. Ana Consuelo ?Jamby? Madrigal told the Philippine Daily Inquirer she was saddened by the death not only of her uncle, but over the demise of a 47-year-old cousin, Ma. Isabel Madrigal Vasquez, as well.
?This is quite a sad day for me, because they died and I?m here and I haven?t seen their bodies yet,? said the niece of the late heiress.
The senator admitted that she had not seen her uncle for some time because of a quarrel with other members of the Madrigal clan regarding the fortunes left behind by her aunt.
Senator Madrigal has filed a suit against Collantes and other heirs over the multi-billion pesos estate of her late aunt. She claimed the will that left nothing for her was forged.
?Hindi ako pinayagang dumalaw. Napakabagsik (I was not allowed to visit. It was cruel),? she said, adding that she heard her relatives had posted policemen and security personnel in the (Chito) Madrigal house.
?Hindi ko alam kung bakit naglagay sila ng pulis sa bahay na hindi kanila (I don?t understand why they sent policemen to a house that does not belong to them),? Madrigal said of her relatives whom she said she had sued over the ownership of the home.
She was told, however, that she was welcome to attend her uncle?s wake.
Collantes? body lies in state at the family residence on 77 Cambridge Circle, North Forbes Park in Makati City. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Madrigal Mausoleum in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Christine O. Avendaño and Cyril Bonabente, Inquirer Research