BY CARLA P. GOMEZ
Former Negros Occidental Board Member Elvira Villena Guanzon, who practiced law for the poor and the marginalized until her late 80s, passed away 10:55 a.m. Saturday.
Guanzon, who was 95, succumbed to complications brought on by Parkinson’s disease at The Doctors’ Hospital in Bacolod City.
“She was in politics for 32 years until 1988, and practiced law for the poor, women and the marginalized until she was 86 years old. She had to quit going to court when she could no longer remember her exhibits or evidence,” her daughter, COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, said yesterday.
“I feel very, very sad that nanay has passed away, but it is all in God’s time. Her life was full of charity and compassion for others , which is why I believe that God gave her many years in this life. We couldn’t ask for more,” she said.
Mayor Salvador Escalante said the Philippine flag will fly at half mast this week for the former Cadiz official and provincial board member, and tributes in her honor will be made in front of the Cadiz City Hall before she is buried on Friday.
He said Elvira Guanzon was the person people ran to for legal assistance, especially the poor. She was a person who was always ready to help anyone in need, Escalante said.
She was in politics at a time when there were very few women who ran for public office. She spent most of her political life as Board Member of Negros Occidental from 1963 until 1988, Commissioner Guanzon said.
She served as councilor and vice mayor of Cadiz City before she was elected Negros Occidental board member. She was board member during the terms of governors Valeriano Gastulao, Alfredo Montelibano Jr. and Daniel Lacson Jr.
In 1986 she led the Corazon Aquino for president campaign in Cadiz and after the EDSA People Power Revolution was appointed provincial board member on the recommendation of Lacson, her daughter said.
Her father was Pedro Villena, mayor of Cadiz during the Commonwealth and when World War II broke out. Her mother was Socorro Dosaran Causing, daughter of a Filipino-Chinese businessman from Iloilo.
She obtained her Associate in Arts, with high honors from Silliman University in Dumaguete City in 1948 and her law degree from the Manuel L. Quezon University in Quezon City, and passed the bar in 1952.
The former board member is survived by her husband, retired judge Sixto Rojas Guanzon, and their children, Judge Frances Guanzon, Dr. Mateo Guanzon III, Board Member Sixto Guanzon Jr., Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, Dr. Casten Guanzon, Dr. Jeffry Guanzon, Dr. Ma. Luz Vicenta Guanzon and Pengar Louie Guanzon.
Her remains now lie in state at the Acropolis Gardens in Brgy. Bata, Bacolod City. On Thursday her remains will be transferred to her residence at Magsaysay Street, Cadiz City.
Interment will be at the Cadiz City Public Cemetery after a 10 a.m. mass at the Sto. Niño Parish Church, Friday.*