By NITZ ARANCON,
and FROILAN GALLARDO
Special Correspondent .
FORMER mayor Vicente Emano had asked his family to have his body cremated because he didn’t want people to see him dead. His wish was granted yesterday morning, hours after he died of pneumonia in a hospital here.
Emano’s son Yevgeny Vincente, governor of Misamis Oriental, announced his father’s death over Magnum Radio. Grieving members of the former mayor’s family opted to keep mum after that radio interview.
The elder Emano died 28 minutes after midnight at the Capitol University Medical City (CUMC) in Gusa. He had just turned 76 in March.
The remains of the erstwhile political kingpin of Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro were taken from the CUMC to the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes for cremation in a white Mitsubishi L300 van at around 4 am. Tailing behind it were at least two vehicles used by members of the Emano family, a guard at Cosmopolitan told the Gold Star Daily.
The former mayor’s daughter Councilor Nadya Elipe, her husband provincial board member President Elipe and Tagoloan Mayor Heckert Emano were waiting near the cremation room of the Cosmopolitan past 6 am, but none of them gave a statement. With them was former councilor Alden Bacal.
Gov. Emano told local radio that cremation was his father’s wish. “Mao na iyang request sa amo iyang mga anak sa una pa nga i-cremate siya deretso human siya mamatay,” he said.
The elder Emano’s ashes were then brought to his home in Sta. Cecilia Village in Gusa for a three-day wake.
His son said the plan is to bring the ashes to a Roman Catholic priest in Tagoloan town to be blessed before these are scattered in Misamis Oriental.
One of Emano’s supporters, former councilor Ramon Tabor said, “Da-an na man to siya nag-ingon nga kon mo-abot na ang iyang kamatayon, dili siya magpahaya kay dili siya gusto nga sod-ongon sa mga tawo ang iyang patay nga lawas. Mao tong gideretso siya pag-cremate.”
Tabor however said that Emano’s ashes would be buried Saturday alongside the grave of his eldest daughter who died in a car accident years ago.
Gov. Emano said his father also wished against being brought either at the capitol where he served as governor or at city hall where he held office for over a decade as mayor.
The elder Emano, a candidate for vice mayor, had started losing weight after he lost the mayoral post of the city in 2013. Despite pronouncements that he was still physically fit, his deteriorating appearance betrayed the claims.
In 2015, this paper reported that the ex-mayor had been placed under intensive care at CUMC.
Yesterday, his son revealed that the 76-year-old politician had been “in and out” of the hospital.
Ex-councilor Bacal said Emano had been confined at the hospital after complaining of difficulty in breathing.
“We had a talk Monday night, and now this. I did not expect this,” Bacal said.
Emano had started his political career as mayor of his hometown Tagoloan, and he had become involved in the political struggle against Marcos dictatorship. He rose to prominence when he was appointed governor of Misamis Oriental after the 1986 Edsa Revolution under the government of the then President Corazon Aquino.
Emano was elected governor in the 1988 elections under the PDP-Laban headed by ex-senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr.. He and Pimentel had a fallout in mid-90s and so, Emano left PDP-Laban and founded the Padayon Pilipino which remained as a dominant political party in Misamis Oriental.
In 1998, Emano was elected mayor of Cagayan de Oro where he dominated local politics until 2013 when he lost in the mayoral race to now reelectionist Mayor Oscar Moreno. From 2007 to 2010, Emano served as vice mayor under the administration of his political ally, ex-mayor Constantino Jaraula.
Jaraula expressed sadness over Emano’s death.
“It is very painful to accept that VYE (Vicente Yap Emano) is gone — and gone forever — but his good deeds will remain forever in the gratitude of our people,” Jaraula said.
Emano’s death enkindled a deluge of expressions of sympathies in and out of social media.
First to express his condolences was Mayor Moreno who posted this statement on his Facebook page: “Our time will also come, we are all mortals. We pray for God’s mercy. May he grant Dongkoy’s soul eternal rest and peace…”
“My political career started in 1995, when I ran (and lost) under his group. Succeeding elections saw us in opposing camps, except only in 2004, when I ran for governor of Misamis Oriental for my first term. Over these past years, we fought a hard and long battle. It brought the best from each of us. But deep inside, we have remained friends. I have forgiven him, and I hope that he has forgiven me too,” reads part of Moreno’s statement.
Emano’s candidate for congressman in the city’s 2nd District, former representative Rufus Rodriguez, also sent a statement: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of former mayor Dongkoy Emano. We have lost a great man, a titan in Cagayan de Oro politics. We know him for his sincerity in helping the poor and the marginalized. He is well known for his good governance as mayor of Tagoloan, governor of Misamis Oriental and mayor of Cagayan de Oro. Although we were on different sides in many political exercises, I am comforted by the fact that I had a full reconciliation with him and greatly honored to be with him in his last political endeavour. Let us all pray for Mayor Dongkoy.”
Rodriguez fondly recalled the last time he was with Emano. He said it was during the a Padayon Pilipino-CDP rally at the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines gym where presidential daughter and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte spoke to a crowd.
Rodriguez said he had observed that Emano was getting weaker and frail since February.
His erstwhile political ally, former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr., said he sent his condolences to Emano’s son.
“Gi-ingnan ko siya nga iyang dawaton ang akong pahisubo, kay bisan nagka bangi kami ni Dongkoy sa milabay nga mga tuig, apan politika mang lang kadto, dili man kadto personal,” Pimentel said. “Taliwala sa mga diperensya usahay sa among baruganan sa politika, daghan man usab ang iyang gisulong pagpauswag sa atong katilingban. Padayona ang mga maayong tuyo ni Dongkoy.”
Pimentel’s son and namesake, Aquilino Martin III, also sent his sympathies to the Emanos. “Among ipadangat ang among kinasing-kasing nga pahisubo, sa Pamilya Emano sa pagpanaw ni kanhi Mayor Dongkoy Emano.”
The younger Pimentel, now a senator, challenged Emano’s reelection bid in the 2004 elections, and lost.
Emano’s 1998 opponent in the mayoral race, former congressman Erasmo Damasing Jr., said he, too, was saddened over the ex-mayor’s death.
“He was a friend of mine. I can never be angry with him. So, akong dako nga pahisubo sa iyang pamilya kay amigo man kami ni Mayor Emano,” Damasing said.
Emano’s mayoral bet in next week’s elections, Jose Gabriel La Viña, said news of his running mate’s death came as a shock to him.
“Nakurat kami sa nahitabo ni Mayor Emano,” La Viña said.