Negros Oriental governor succumbs to cancer

Negros Oriental Governor Agustin Perdices died shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday at the St. Luke’s Global City after battling it out with stomach cancer. He was 76.

Perdices was elected as Vice Governor of Negros Oriental last May 2010 after having served as mayor of the capital, Dumaguete City, for 19 years. By a stroke of fate, he became the governor of Negros Oriental after re-elected Gov. Emilio Macias II, also lost his battle to cancer on June 13 last year shortly before he could assume office.

Late last year, talks were rife about the failing health of Perdices but it was only in late October that word of him having stomach cancer became public. Perdices had undergone sixth of 12 recommended chemotherapy sessions and was about to have his seventh.

He had left for Manila on December 29 and was since in the hospital.

Perdices was surrounded by his family and trusted aide Harrison Gonzales at his bedside when he passed away, said Lagahit, city legal officer and Perdices’ legal adviser for 10 years.

Lagahit said that he had left for Manila on Tuesday after learning that Perdices was not getting any better.

On Wednesday morning, Lagahit said he talked to Perdices at the hospital, although the man was already having difficulty conversing with him. When Lagahit asked permission to leave as he was returning on the afternoon flight to Dumaguete, Perdices motioned him to come to his bedside and told him to take care of himself and be safe.

Acting Governor Roel Degamo said they will be taking the cue from the family of Perdices as to funeral arrangements. He said the provincial government will respect the wishes of the family members of the late governor.

Perdices’ remains will arrive in Dumaguete on Friday afternoon on board a commercial Philippine Airlines flight and his burial will be at 12 high noon on January 11, Degamo said.

It was not immediately known where his remains will be brought upon arrival in Dumaguete but it is expected to be at the Capitol, he being the governor of Negros Oriental.

Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria said he is also hoping that the remains will lie in wake at the city session hall considering that it was in Dumaguete that Perdices had served for so long a time as a political leader and public servant.

Degamo has asked Provincial Administrator Paul Honculada to call for an emergency meeting with the department heads of the provincial government on Thursday morning.

Degamo, who was also propelled by fate from being a Board Member-elect to Vice Governor following the death of governor-elect Emilio Macias II, will also be taking his oath as governor of Negros Oriental at 8 a.m. Thursday.

The oath-taking will be held at the Provincial Board Session Hall and shall be presided by Negros Oriental Executive Judge Lualhati Fe Bustamante.

Degamo has assured constituents that the province is in good hands and there shall be no vacuum in provincial government positions.

He asked the public to pray for the soul of the late Gov. Perdices.

The flag at the Capitol and the Dumaguete City Hall shall be flown at half-mast.

Meanwhile, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III was already informed about the death of Perdices.

To recall, Perdices had sought the vice gubernatorial position under the Pundok Kasaligan, a local political aggrupation he formed and which had aligned the Liberal Party, who had for its standard bearer for the May 10, 2010 polls, then Sen. Benigno Aquino III.

Perdices had thanked President Aquino for appointing him last month as the chairman of the Regional Development Council of Region 7, comprising the Central Visayas provinces of Negros Oriental, Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor.

Constituents of Negros Oriental are still dazed from the news of Perdices’ death, many of whom said they have not even recovered yet from the death of Macias.

Mayor Sagarbarria is asking the people to remember Perdices for all the accomplishments and contributions that he had done for the city.

He described the political career of Perdices as untainted with corruption.

Fr. Julius Heruela, assistant parish priest of the Diocese of Dumaguete, has offered condolences to the family of the late Perdices and was scheduled to offer a requiem Mass for him Wednesday night.

Fr. Heruela said he has already informed Bishop John Du, who is in Manila, about the passing away of Perdices.

The late Gov. Perdices was a religious man and attended church regularly.

During recent speaking engagements, Perdices would repeatedly say he prayed to God that he be given the chance to at least finish three terms as governor of Negros Oriental.

It was his utmost desire to serve as governor, following the footsteps of his late father, Mariano Perdices, who was also a governor of Negros Oriental. PNA

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