Estrella Sr., ex-agrarian reform secretary, passes away

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ROSALES – Former Agrarian Reform minister Conrado Estrella Sr. has passed away. He was 93 years old and was set to turn a year older on August 18.

Estrella Sr. died in his sleep at his family's residence in Villa Verde, Pasig City, according to initial information received by Sunstar Pangasinan.

His body was discovered by his companions during early morning of Tuesday.

Estrella Sr. is the grandfather of former National Electrification Admnistration (NEA) administrator and former sixth district (Pangasinan) congressman Conrado Estrella III and Abono Partylist Representative Robert Raymund Estrella Jr.

Estrella served as mayor of Rosales town and later became governor of Pangasinan in 1954 until 1963 and as Batasang Pambansa representative/congressman from 1978 to 1986.

Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Jr. honored him last January by inviting him as guest of honor and speaker during the 66th Lingayen Gulf Landings and Pangasinan Veterans’ Day celebration.

It was perhaps his last speaking engagement.

During the program, those present could not help but admire Lakay Condring (as he was fondly called) as he was still strong, alert, and witty.

“I’m thankful to God that I am allowed to live a life through divine intervention. It’s a case of overstaying. I like to believe that I am the only living person who can tell the truth,” the 93-year old Estrella said then.

He talked spontaneously for about 45 minutes, without the aid of a written speech, retelling what happened on July 6, 1961 during the sentimental journey to Lingayen of General Douglas Macarthur.

Estrella narrated that early July 1961, then President Carlos Garcia called him to Malacanang and informed him about the arrival of Gen. MacArthur, who was already 82 years old that time.

“General, there is a raging problem. Dagupan City and Lingayen are quarreling. Dagupan insists that you landed there first, while the people of Lingayen said it was in Lingayen. MacArthur asked where the Capitol building is. I brought him to the porch of the Urduja House and pointed at the Capitol building,” he recounted.

“MacArthur said from their battleship, they rode a boat and landed here at the back of the Capitol. He said when they not find any more Japanese, they turned back to the boat and went beyond Lingayen and landed in Bonuan, Dagupan City,” he further said.

“But that issue of where he landed is immaterial because on January 23, 1984, we unveiled the biggest monument of MacArthur in Bonuan, Dagupan. Director Helen Benitez and other leaders, and Col. Edwin Ramsay was present,” Estrella further said.

Meanwhile, it is yet to be know when will Lakay Condring be brought home to his hometown where Pangasinenses will have the opportunity to give him the last respect. (Sunnex)

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