FORMER Budget secretary Emilia Boncodin passed away Monday due to cardiac arrest at the National Kidney Institute. She was 55.

Boncodin was confined at the National Kidney Institute since last week. She was diagnosed to have an end-stage renal disease and had a kidney malfunction.

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She underwent a kidney transplant in February 2005, but her kidney failed to function.

In a radio interview, Black and White Movement convener Leah Navarro confirmed Boncodin’s death, saying the former budget chief had been undergoing dialysis for months.

Upon learning the news, Malacañang issued statement about the passing of the former Cabinet secretary.

“The Palace mourns the passing of the former budget secretary and extends its condolences to her family, friends, and loved ones,” deputy presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar said.

“Secretary Boncodin was a true professional and a recognized expert in budgets and public finance, and played a key role especially in the fiscal reforms initiated during the initial years of the administration,” he added.

The Palace official also said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will be paying her respects to the late secretary once details of the wake are made known.

Boncodin was a member of the group called “Hyatt 10” -- the government officials resigned at the height of the “Hello Garci”.

The group had called for Arroyo to step down following allegations that she was the voice of a woman in a taped conversation with a poll official about poll rigging in 2004 presidential elections.

President Arroyo admitted to be the voice in the phone but denied any wrongdoing.

Boncodin had served as the Department of Budget and Management Director, Assistant Director, Chief Fiscal Planning Specialist, Senior Fiscal Planning Specialist, Fiscal Planning Specialist prior to becoming budget secretary.

She had also been a professor at the National College of Public Administration and Governance of the University of the Philippines. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)