FORMER Defense secretary Fortunato Abat has died, the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Thursday.
DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong told reporters that Abat passed away at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.
“The Department of National Defense mourns the loss of former Defense Secretary and Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Fortunato Abat,” Andolong said.
Abat started his military career when he was an enlisted man in 1944 during the World War II.
After the war, Abat entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) as a cadet in 1947 and graduated in 1951. He was also part of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea.
For five years, Abat served as the Army chief or during the Martial Law years under the term of former president Ferdinand Marcos.
Right after his retirement, Abat joined the Ministry of Human Settlements and months after, was designated by Marcos as ambassador to China, a position he had held for four years until the Edsa Revolution in 1986.
It was during the presidency of Fidel Ramos where he served as defense secretary. DEMPSEY REYES