Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ambassador Vicente G. Reyes

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Vicente G. Reyes passed away October 28, leaving behind his wife, the former Mercedes Orlina, and children Rodolfo "Inky," Isabelita "Jojo," and Teresita "Ovie."

Vic, or Ben, was born Sept. 11, 1931 in Alitagtag, Batangas, one of seven children of Telesforo Reyes, R., who would become mayor of the town, and Brigida Gutierrez. He graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in 1954 with a bachelor of laws degree. Straight from graduation, he joined the Department of Foreign Affairs. This was to be his first and only job. After he retired, he was consultant to Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile.

A very hard working man, he rose from the ranks in the DFA, and in 1966, was assigned as Vice-Consul in the Philippine Consulate General in New York where he and his family would live for eight years. When the family moved back to the Philippines in 1974, two years after martial law was declared. He was assigned to approve and/or endorse for approval all exit permits of Filipinos who wanted to travel abroad. He was very strict in approving travel permits, earning him great respect among his peers, and the Filipino businessmen who applied to travel abroad. His integrity and work ethic earned him the "Dangal ng Batangan" award in 1997, given by the provincial government of Batangas to her outstanding sons and daughters.

By the mid-1980s, he had already become Assistant Minister for Administration, and was promoted to the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. When the Aquino Administration took over in 1986, his fellow Batangueno, then Vice President and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Salvador "Doy" Laurel assigned him as Consul General to the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong.

In Hong Kong , while Consul General, he convinced Filipino overseas workers to clean up Central, a favorite picnic site.

During the height of the failed coup d'etat in 1989, the Consul General was unceremoniously recalled – for doing his job, i.e., meeting Vice President Laurel at the Hong Kong airport – at a time when there was a falling-out between President Aquino and Vice President Laurel. His detractors were questioning his not opening the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong – when in fact, it was a Sunday, and he was at a gathering of Hong Kong businessmen, trying to convince them that the coup would not succeed and not to panic and pull out their investments in the Philippines. \

At the DFA, where he was known as "VGR," he was chiefly responsible for revising the Foreign Service Code, and co-authored with the late Comelec Commissioner Haydee Yorac, a collection of treaties the Philippines had with other countries. He also served on the Foreign Service Board of Examiners and was chairman and an examiner himself.

Vic never said a bad word about President Aquino. His family knew he felt devastated, having dedicated 35 years of his life with the DFA. In 1990 he filed for retirement, at age 59. Slowly, his health deteriorated. He underwent a triple heart bypass in 1992. He died October 28, last Tuesday.

His lawyer son Inky who is the original SBMA Administrator says his father left behind "a legacy of kindness, good-naturedness and generosity." What makes him ever so happy is that at his last moments on earth, his father received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and confessed and repented for all his sins. By Domini M. Torrevillas - FROM THE STANDS

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