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Cebu officials pay tribute to late Mayor Edgardo Labella

By: Mae Fhel Gom-os, Pegeen Maisie M. Sararaña - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporters | November 19,2021 - 08:42 PM

Edgardo Labella

The wake of Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella at the Crystal Palace Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes in Cebu City on Friday evening, November 19, 2021. | via Mae Fhel Gom-os

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu officials, including those from the opposing camp fondly remembered and paid tribute to the late Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella who died Friday dawn, November 19, 2021.

They also extended their condolences to the bereaved family of Labella, who died at the age of 70 during the first night of the late Mayor’s wake at the Crystal Palace Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes in Lahug.

On a starry and moonlit night, messages of love, respect, and gratitude flowed for the soft-spoken leader.

Acting Mayor Michael Rama who is on leave, said he is deeply saddened by the passing of his “partner” and “dear friend.”

“Today, I have lost a good friend and partner, and the City of Cebu has lost a great public servant. On behalf of the Cebu City Government & the Rama family, we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to Joy Labella & the whole Colina – Labella family. Let us pause for a moment of silence today and offer our prayers for Mayor Labella’s eternal rest,” said Rama in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

Rama said Labella was like a family who never failed to make light moments despite the hard times since their partnership was formed in 2012.

“Our partnership was formed in 2012 when he became my vice mayor & our friendship is one that has lasted since the 90s. We have had many great years together in public service. I could not have asked for a better partner,” said  Rama.

“When we went through political & personal adversity in our life, Edgar was always there to console and support myself & my family during those days where we felt that true friends were few and fair-weathered. He never failed to make light moments despite the hard times, by cracking a joke or sharing an anecdote with us. I recall how in the middle of a program in front of Cebu City Hall, he impulsively picked up the mic and delivered a speech defending me after what transpired in 2016. As friends go, Edgar was a true one. He was like family,” he said.

And since Labella was like a member of his family, Rama said it was just normal that they had disagreements over matters of policy.

Despite that, he said they make it a point to discuss things through and reconcile their differences, adding that they had a great deal of reverence for each other.

Rama also acknowledged the accomplishments of Labella from being a scholar, lawyer/prosecutor, and public servant.

“His accomplishments in life, are kilometric, as a proud scholar, lawyer/prosecutor & public servant. He authored many meaningful pieces of legislation as a councilor and head of the Committee on Laws and Good Governance. As a vice mayor, he was an effective master of parliamentary procedure being a legal luminary & as a mayor, he was deliberative, just, reasonable, fair, and forward thinking. It was my honor to serve as his vice mayor. He lead us during a most challenging time,”  he said.

Meanwhile, Councilor and now Acting Mayor Donaldo “Dondon” Hontiveros considered Labella as an example of what a public servant should be who would work even though he was tired.

Councilor Pastor Jun Alcover for his part said that the late mayor was a great loss to the ruling party, Barug-PDP Laban, where he also belongs.

Councilor Alvin Dizon of Bando Osmeña – Pundok Kauswagan, for his part, said he was very sad as he recalls the time when he had worked with the mayor despite their political differences.

Councilor Franklin Ong also sends his condolences to the bereaved family of Labella.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia remembered Labella for his fiery will to serve and his selfless dedication to public service despite health challenges.

Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino said he was saddened to say goodbye to a man of principle who acted with passion and spoke with wisdom.

Senator Joel Villanueva said he remembers Labella as a gentleman whose words were ‘measured, gestures kind, and affection genuine’.

He also said that he has witnessed how Labella works during his numerous visits here.

“The grit of the man can be seen when he worked to keep his city afloat during the worst pandemic in history while battling his own sickness. If his signature brand of service was to keep the hopes, progress, dreams of Cebu City buoyant, that resilience probably stemmed from his experience as a sinking ship survivor when he clung for dear life for 36 hours. And Cebuanos ended up better for being beneficiaries of his tenacity,” his press release reads.

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TAGS: Alvin Dizon, Cebu City, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, Dondon Hontiveros, Gwen Garcia, Joel Villanueva, Michael Dino, Mike Rama

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