Heherson Alvarez

Heherson "Sonny" Turingan Alvarez (October 16, 1939 - April 20, 2020) was a politician from the Philippines. He served as a member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines and the Senate of the Philippines. He was also Minister (then Secretary) of Agrarian Reform from 1986 to 1987 and Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources from 2001 to 2002.

Heherson T. Alvarez
Senator Heherson Alvarez.jpg
Commissioner of the Climate Change Commission
In office
October 23, 2009 – June 30, 2016
Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources
In office
March 29, 2001 – December 13, 2002
Preceded byAntonio Cerilles
Succeeded byElisea G. Gozun
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Isabela's 4th District
In office
June 30, 1998 – March 29, 2001
Preceded byAntonio M. Abaya
Succeeded byAntonio M. Abaya
Senator of the Philippines
In office
June 30, 1987 – June 30, 1998
Secretary of Agrarian Reform
In office
February 7, 1987 – March 7, 1987
Preceded byConrado Estrella Sr.
Succeeded byPhilip Ella Juico
Minister of Agrarian Reform
In office
May 1, 1986 – February 7, 1987
Preceded byConrado F. Estrella
Succeeded byPost abolished
Personal details
Heherson Turingan Alvarez

(1939-10-26)October 26, 1939
Santiago, Isabela, Commonwealth of the Philippines
DiedApril 20, 2020(2020-04-20) (aged 80)
Political partyPDP-Laban (1986–1988); (2018–2020)
Other political
LDP (1988–1998); (2004–2018), LDP-Aquino Wing (2004), Lakas NUCD-UMDP (1998–2001)
Spouse(s)Cecile Guidote
Alma materHarvard University, University of the Philippines

He was a young activist who participated in the 1971 constitutional convention.[1] He refused to sign the Ferdinand Marcos regime backed constitution that gave extensions to the president's term in office. He fled with his family to the US leaving the Philippines behind as martial law took its toll on opposition activists.

While in exile, he was one of the organizers of the Free Philippines movement that supported his friend and opposition leader, Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. After Aquino was assassinated, the Philippine leadership changed as Corazon Aquino, the wife of Benigno Aquino Jr., took power after the successful "People Power Revolution". He returned to the Philippines in 1986 to partake in rebuilding the government in the wake of collapse of the Marcos regime. He won a senatorial seat, representing Isabela province's 4th district, in the post-revolution government of President Corazon Aquino. He served two terms 1987 to 1998 and 1998-2001.

Senator Alvarez also held two cabinet positions - Secretary of Agrarian Reform (February 7, 1987 – March 7, 1987) and Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (March 29, 2001 – December 13, 2002). He was known as staunch environmentalist as he was called "Mr. Environment" during his term as Environmental Secretary[1].Moreover, as a senator, he authored the resolution to make April 22 of every year as "Earth Day" in the Philippines.


Alvarez speaking at a forum in Manila Hotel
Heherson Alvarez shown with the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Sonny Alvarez studied liberal arts at University of the Philippines. He also earned a master's degree in Economics and Public Administration from Harvard University.

Personal lifeEdit

Alvarez married, artist and activist, Cecile Guidote; the couple had two children, Hexilon and Herxilla.


Senator Alvarez and wife, Cecile contracted the COVID-19 sometime in March. They were both hospitalized. CNN reported that Heherson Alvarez underwent experimental plasma therapy treatment and blood plasma convalescent therapy.[2] On April 20, 2020, Alvarez died due to complications from COVID-19.[3]


  1. ^ a b Ranada, Pia (April 20, 2020). "Former senator, activist Heherson Alvarez dies from coronavirus". Rappler.com. Rappler Inc. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  2. ^ "Former Senator Heherson Alvarez dies of COVID-19 at 80". Coconuts Manila. Coconuts Media Company. April 21, 2020. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  3. ^ Galvez, Daphne. "Ex-Senator Heherson Alvarez succumbs to COVID-19". newsinfo.inquirer.net. Retrieved 2020-04-20.