Dumaguete City officials, led by Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo, paid their last respects and gave eulogies to the late Vice Mayor Alan Gel Cordova during a necrological service at the Sangguniang Panlungsod session hall yesterday.
Cordova’s remains were brought to the city session hall for viewing only of officials and city government employees to minimize the risk of Covid-19 spread. He will be laid to rest today.
Remollo, who made his first public appearance as shown on Facebook live streaming after weeks of absence from City Hall after contracting Covid-19, said he “saw the enthusiasm and idealism” in the late vice mayor.
“I’ve known Alan as someone who does not stop thinking and innovates…he always thought of something ideal for the city of Dumaguete,” he said.
The mayor spoke of Covid-19 and said he hoped that the demise of Cordova would be a “lesson to all”.
Cordova, who had just returned to work after his bout with the coronavirus disease, died due to cardiac arrest while riding a bicycle from Tanjay City to Dumaguete, as part of the bike-for-a-cause event of the Philippine Army on May 30.
Remollo said that, at that time, many of the SP members were “under the same predicament” or infected with Covid-19.
Vice Mayor Karissa Tolentino-Maxino, the first councilor who, by rule of succession, replaced Cordova, said no one is befitting to take his place, much less occupy his seat as presiding officer of the SP.
“This presiding chair will always be his, and he will always be remembered,” she said as she fought back tears.
Starting together on the campaign trail with a few other councilors, she admitted having disagreements with Cordova, who always showed respect to everyone and did not take things personally.
“There was never a time that he fought us on a personal level, ignored us, even during intense deliberations during the session, and yet after that he would come over to us and speak to us,” she said in a mix of English and Cebuano dialect.
“We will do our best in the city council to reach Vice Mayor Cordova’s dream that all of us will be united,” she added.
For his part, Councilor Joe Kenneth Arbas wished for the people to remember the late vice mayor and “live for what he stands for so that everything he did in public service will not die with him but live on in each one of us”.
Cordova, who won as vice mayor as an independent candidate, was aligned with the so-called BAT (Bandal, Arbas, Tolentino) group, whose members all won in that political exercise.
“We trusted him not because of money but because we felt his sincerity,” Arbas said.
Councilor Agustin Perdices, meanwhile, said Cordova took “the road less traveled, not because he was pro- or anti-administration. No. Because he was pro-Dumaguete, he was pro-public service”.
“We all know the road least traveled is a lonely road, and that is why I say Alan is a brave, brave man,” he said. “If he had to do it alone, he would because he felt that is where he had to bring us”.
He would also swim against the tide if he had to, even though he knew it was a difficult thing to do, Perdices said.
Councilor Michael Bandal, in between sobbing, said Cordova was a humble and down-to-earth person and was everyone’s friend.
“As a matter of fact, when I started out in politics, it was because of Alan,” he said. “I knew that as long as Alan was with us we would be in safe hands. And as a friend, I can always remember his laughs, and he would never leave you behind.”
Cordova went to the Philippine Military Academy and the United States Military Academy in West Point Virginia, and served later in the Scout Rangers of the Philippine Army.*PNA