Labella loses long battle

AFTER being in and out of the hospital for months, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella passed away early Friday morning, Nov. 19, 2021.

He was 70.

His cause of death was listed as septic shock secondary to pneumonia. His latest hospitalization lasted 23 days.

Acting Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama was the first to confirm the mayor’s death, but Labella’s family issued a statement not long after.

“After struggling with illness these past months, the mayor has passed away today at 4 a.m.,” his son, Edgardo “Jaypee” Labella II, told members of the media, Friday.

The Labella family thanked Cebu Doctors’ Hospital for taking care of the mayor during his ordeal, and Perpetual Succour Hospital, where the mayor spent his final moments.

“Big thanks is likewise extended to the mayor’s supporters, caregivers and his colleagues in government for the kindness and tact shown to him when his health rapidly declined. We mourn the loss of our mayor who throughout his years in government service kept close to his heart the people he served,” Jaypee added.

Jaypee said there were times when his father was sad about the city and worried about what was going on.

“But we always told him that the city is in good hands with Michael Rama,” Jaypee said.

According to Labella’s family, the mayor served the city untiringly at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic until conditions improved, but he lost the battle he waged against his health.

“He had initially been managing his illness well when the lockdowns compromised his situation,” his family said.

“We mourn the loss of the mayor who, throughout his years in government service, kept close to his heart the people he served,” the statement further said.

Prior to becoming mayor, Labella served as Cebu City vice mayor from 2013 to 2019. He also served as city councilor from 1998 to 2001 and from 2004 to 2013.

Labella was also the director of the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas from 1994 to 1998.

He was one of the survivors of the 1998 sinking of the mv Princess of the Orient, a passenger ferry that sank after sailing from Manila to Cebu at the height of Typhoon Vicki. At least 150 people died in the sinking.

As mayor of Cebu City, Labella held various positions in national and regional organizations including as national chairman of the League of Cities of the Philippines in 2019.

In the same year, President Rodrigo Duterte also appointed Labella chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Central Visayas.

Labella’s remains were brought to The Crystal Palace funeral home in Barangay Lahug where a wake is being held.

His family said Labella’s body will also be brought to the City Hall for public viewing, but the schedule for that has yet to be released.

Proper safety protocols will be observed.

After six to seven days, Mayor Labella will be laid to rest at Golden Haven Memorial Park because that was his wish, his family said. (LMY, CAL)