Family, colleagues remember Iggy Arroyo at funeral service-A A +A
Monday, March 5, 2012
MANILA (Updated 2:26 p.m.) -- Over a hundred people, including family and colleagues, gathered Monday at the funeral service for the late Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo at the plenary hall of the House of Representatives.
Mourners include House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, the late lawmaker's elder brother Jose Miguel Arroyo, former speaker Prospero Nograles, Senator Loren Legarda, and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's legal counsel Raul Lambino, and spokesperson Elena Bautista-Horn.
The late lawmaker's legal wife Aleli Arroyo and live-in partner Grace Ibuna and their daughters were also present but seated away from each other.
Aleli and her daughter, Alelu, were seated next to her husband's sister, Maria Lourdes Arroyo, who was a former member of the House of Representatives.
On the other hand, Ibuna and her daughter, Gabrielle, were both seated in the gallery.
Iggy Arroyo's two daughters with his first wife, Bianca and Dina, were seated beside former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.
During Aleli's eulogy, Ibuna stepped out of the plenary hall and went to the clinic. She returned as soon as Aleli ended her eulogy.
"My grief is unimaginable for he shared with me the best years of my life…My husband is not only a public servant but the love of my life. I will always remember him as a good member of the House," Aleli said.
Her lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, criticized Ibuna for showing "disrespect" to her client. "Show a little breeding... Some people are just in-bred," Kapunan told reporters in an ambush interview on Monday.
"This is not really about whom between the two of them deserve the last moments. It is about respect now for the congressman and we think now what she did here, she showed absolute disrespect for the congressman. As a matter fact, when Aleli started to give her speech, she stood up and left," Kapunan added.
Kapunan said Ibuna was waving to congressmen left and right as if asking for their comfort while Aleli sat quietly with her family.
Meanwhile, the two daughters of Iggy, Bianca and Diana, were emotional when they delivered their eulogy.
"If I could follow your footsteps, it would be the greatest achievement of my life," a tearful Bianca said.
"I feel I owe it to my father to tell everyone how proud I am…Because of him, I know I can achieve anything in life if I work for it and preserve," Dina said.
The Negros Occidental lawmaker died on January 26 after suffering a heart attack in London, where he had sought treatment for cirrhosis of the liver.
After the funeral service, Speaker Belmonte handed Iggy's family a memorabilia, which had the lawmaker's oath of office, name plate, and set of legislative performance records.
"Death strips a man of everything but never his good deeds," said Belmonte, who described the late congressman as humble and kind, especially to his constituents.
Zambales Representative Milagros "Mitos" Magsaysay, one of the closest friends of Iggy in the House of Representatives, relived their families' closeness with each other. She said she knew how Iggy loved his daughters very much.
She asked Iggy's relatives and loved ones to reconcile their differences as the congressman is already set to be laid to rest this Friday, March 9.
"I hope you will allow Iggy, if you really love him set him free. If ever there is something that is unfinished, I just hope that you all finish it today. I think that is what Iggy would have wanted," she added.
"Love is about letting go and setting a person free. Sana whatever we are feeling right now, ipaubaya na natin. I know it might be difficult for you, but he always told me I hope they forgive me for all the pains I have caused. As a request, sana naman po pagbigyan natin si Cong. Iggy," Magsaysay added.
Ibuna has been in tears as Magsaysay was delivering her speech.
Iggy's remains will be flown to Bacolod Monday afternoon for a four-day wake at the family house in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental.
He will be buried at the family mausoleum at the Manila North Cemetery on March 9. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)