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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

18 November 2021 12:52:48 PM

For the second year in a row, the House of Representatives held a memorial service to honor incumbent and former lawmakers, as well as Secretariat personnel and congressional staff, who died amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, together with House Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza, on Thursday led a tribute to the late Antipolo City Rep. Resurreccion Acop; former Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia; ex-Senators John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña and Victor Ziga; and former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

The House also paid homage to 26 other members from past Congresses and 23 House employees who passed on this year, during the memorial service held at the plenary session inside the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City.

Acop died last May 28 while serving as representative of the second district of Antipolo City, whose current caretaker is Speaker Velasco; while Garcia served as representative of the third district of Cebu in the 8th and 9th Congresses and of the province’s second district in the 14th and 15th Congresses where he served as deputy speaker on both terms.

Before he became senator, Osmeña served as representative of the second district of Cebu in the 7th Congress and of the third district of the province in the 10th Congress. Ziga, on the other hand, was representative of the province of Albay in the Regular Batasang Pambansa (RBP).

Prior to becoming senator and president, Aquino served as representative of the second district of Tarlac in the 11th, 12th and 13th Congresses.

The legislative chamber traditionally holds necrological services for each legislator. But because of the safety and health restrictions stemming from the pandemic, it decided to organize just one memorial service honoring those who died these past few months.

The House held its first collective memorial service in October last year, which was one of the culminating activities of the HRep Month, marking the 113th anniversary of the creation of the Philippine Assembly of elected district representatives.

In his eulogy, Speaker Velasco extended his sincerest condolences to the bereaved families of the departed former members and employees of the House.

“We are gathered here together, finally, after many months, to take these griefs back; to take back our capabilities to physically sympathize with one another. And more importantly: we are here to honor these venerable public officials and employees who left us with their enduring legacy of public service to our country,” Velasco said.

Velasco said the memorial service was offered not only to mourn but also celebrate the lives of departed House members and employees.

“We cherish the moments they spent on public service, crafting relevant laws, engaging in plenary debates, touching the lives of their constituents, especially the poor and the deprived. We cherish those moments because it made our lives a little better than it was. The Philippines is all the richer because you, their family, shared their life with us,” Velasco said.

He added: “We also celebrate the lives our dearly departed House employees who had tirelessly provided us the technical assistance and support over and beyond the call of duty. These Secretariat employees and officials have helped the Members every session day to craft relevant legislation for the benefit of our country.”

Velasco presented the framed Oath of Office, Legislative Performance Record and Resolution of Condolence to the families and allies of the five deceased former House members.

The House chief also presented legislative memorabilia to the families of the following former House members:

• Emerito Calderon - Cebu City 5th District (7th Congress), Cebu (RBP), COCOFED Party-list (11th Congress)
• Benhur Salimbangon - Cebu Province 4th District (14th-17th Congresses)
• Reynaldo Umali - Oriental Mindoro 2nd District (15th-17th Congresses)
• Mariano Tajon - Ilocos Sur 1st District (9th and 10th Congresses)
• Conrado “Dong” Apacible - Batangas 1st District (8th Congress)
• James Gordon Jr. - Zambales 1st District (10th-12th Congresses)
• Erineo “Ayong” Maliksi - Cavite 2nd District (11th Congress), Cavite 3rd District (15th Congress)
• Jose Gullas - Cebu 1st District (12th Congress)
• Adelino Sitoy - Cebu (RBP)
• Henry Regalado Sr. - Region (Batasang Bayan), Region 10/Oroquieta City (Interim Batasang Pambansa), Misamis Occidental (RBP)
• Douglas Hagedorn - Palawan 3rd District (16th Congress)
• Jesus Punzalan - Oriental Mindoro 2nd District (8th-10th Congresses)
• Ruben Ecleo Jr. - Dinagat Island (15th Congress)
• Angelo Montilla - Sultan Kudarat (10th-12th Congresses)
• Douglas Cagas - Davao del Sur (RBP), Davao del Sur 1st District (11th-13th Congresses)
• Dominador Nazareno, Jr. - Cavite 1st District (9th Congress)
• Emigdio Lingad - Pampanga (RBP), Pampanga 2nd District (8th, 9th Congresses)
• Jeci Lapus - Tarlac 3rd District (14th, 15th Congresses)
• Herminio Aquino - Tarlac 3rd District (8th-10th Congresses)
• Luis Villafuerte Sr. - Region V/Naga City (Interim Batasang Pambansa), Camarines Sur (RBP), Camarines Sur 2nd District (13th, 14th Congresses), Camarines Sur 3rd District (15th Congress)
• Emil Ong - Northern Samar 2nd District (14th-16th Congresses)
• Erasmo Damasing Jr. - Cagayan de Oro (9th, 10th Congresses)
• Oscar Garin Sr. - Iloilo 1st District (8th, 9th, 10th, 12th Congresses)
• Jose Luis Martin Gascon - Youth Sector (8th Congress)
• Didagen Dilangalen - Maguindanao 1st District (10th, 11th Congresses), Maguidanao with Cotabato City 1st District (12th Congress), Sharif Kabunsuan with Cotabato City (14th Congress)
• Peter Paul Jed Falcon - Maguindanao 1st District (10th, 11th Congresses), Maguidanao w/ Cotabato City 1st District (12th Congress), Sharif Kabunsuan with Cotabato City (14th Congress)

Velasco likewise presented the House offering of legislative memorabilia to the families of the following former House employees:

• Renee Margaret Angeles
• Roberto Aquino
• Roberto Orpilla
• William Marte
• Marcelo Castro
• Edwin Ubando
• Diomedes Goboleo
• Virgina Rizardo
• Jose Cruz
• Concepcion Chipeco
• Jose Editho Falceso
• Grace Mabunga
• Dennis Blasé
• Aurelio Centeno
• Melchor Pigarot
• Rachel Rodeles-Santiago
• Juanito Benavidez
• Alex Bisera
• Raul Dantes
• Gregorio Valdenarro
• Violeta Corral
• Salvador Guevarra
• Milagros Camacho