Councilor Tony Cuenco succumbs to COVID-19
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has claimed the life of an elected Cebu City official, and a scion of one of Cebu’s most influential and prominent political families.
City Councilor and former Congressman Antonio “Tony” Cuenco on Saturday, June 27, 2020, passed away, the Cuenco family announced in an official statement issued to the media.
He was 84 years old.
This developed nearly an hour after his son, former City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, debunked unofficial reports circulating online that his father died due to COVID-19 complications.
“Today, a great man has passed on. My family and I (James Anthony) wish to let you know that my father, Councilor and former Congressman Antonio Veloso Cuenco, has succumbed to the lethal effects of the COVID-19 virus,” read portions of the family’s statement that was written by the former councilor.
In a series of text messages sent to CDN Digital before he made the announcement, James Anthony confirmed that his father was confined in a private hospital last June 25 due to COVID-19.
The younger Cuenco said that Tony began to develop symptoms of the disease such as mild fever and cough last June 18.
On the same day, swab samples were extracted. Two days later, or on June 20, results of the older Cuenco’s swab test came positive of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
“He (was) in the hospital due to COVID-19. He started manifesting symptoms like mild fever and cough last June 18,” said James Anthony.
Family in shock
The Cuenco family stated that their patriarch’s passing left them shocked.
“What is very shocking is the manner and the suddenness of his passing… It happened so fast and has left us very shocked to realize that the good man that we have had the opportunity to have as our father (with my siblings Ronald, Antonio Jr., and Cynthia) and a good husband to my mother, Nancy, is gone,” they said.
“We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath a covering, never to wake up. And yet it is always a shock when it happens to someone we know. Much more if it is someone we have known and loved for so many years,” they added.
The Cuenco family also requested the public to give them space as they grieve for the untimely passing of their father.
“There will be time enough to remember the many things that he dedicated his life to, for our country and for our beloved City. But for now, I wish to request that we be given our space to lay him to rest and to grieve in his untimely passing,” the family stated.
A veteran in Cebu City politics, Tony Cuenco was a scion of one of Cebu’s influential and most prominent political families.
He was the son of the late Governor Manuel Cuenco and the grandson of former Senate President Mariano Jesus Cuenco.
Prior to his reelection into the Cebu City Council during the May 2019 elections, Tony served multiple times as a congressman for Cebu City in the House of Representatives.
He was also appointed as Secretary-General of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Inter-Parliamentary Assembly from 2010 to 2013.
COVID-19 in Cebu City
Cebu City, on the other hand, has been tagged as the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Central Visayas.
The Department of Health (DOH) also named it, along with five more areas in Visayas, as an ‘emerging COVID-19 hotspot’ due to the continuous rise in new cases here.
Data from the City Health Department (CHD) showed that as of June 26, they have documented a total of 4, 702 coronavirus cases.
Of these figure, 136 have already died while 2,369 have recovered from the infection. /dbs
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