CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Veteran politician, public servant, businessman, civic leader and Board Member Ceferino "Pinong" Laus passed away peacefully Monday night.

"Tang Pinong," as he is dearly called by his constituents, colleagues, and friends, succumbed to natural causes at his home in St. Dominic Corinthian at about 10:30 p.m. He was born on August 26, 1928 and died at the age of 81.

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Laus has been a long-term councilor of this city before joining the Provincial Board (PB) for several terms. He has been very popular to young and old alike, especially with his campaign jingle "Kang Pinong Laus Tamu," (We are for Pinong Laus) adapted from Richie Valens' "La Bamba."

Breaking the record

In a rare and exclusive interview with Tang Pinong Laus on October 22 last year at a pizza parlor in a mall in this city with his "Thursday Club" colleagues and fellow Board Members Johnny "JQ" Quiambao and Nelson Calara, he told Sun.Star Pampanga that he was planning to seek reelection to break the record of the longest serving elected public official and that it was his desire to continue serving his constituents as well as establish a legacy.

"Wa. Bisa kata pang magserbisyu kareng tau lalu na retang kalulu. Simpli tamu naman at keng maliti tamung agawa, makasaup pasibayu. Sabi ku pin pane, pitna-pitna tamu king kalame," (Yes. I still want to serve our people especially the poor. In my simple and little ways I want to help again. As I often said, let us all partake of our share of the cake) he said.

But he hinted that he may "pass on the torch and legacy" to his wife Monina "Monz" Laus because of his health.

"Pakisabyan ke at kutnan nung buri nang ituloy ing pamagserbisyu tamu. Iyang ing pinakamagaling a palit kaku uling king kayang exposure karing civic club at pamagsilbi," (I will discuss it with her since she will be the best person to take over my seat because of her exposure to civic clubs and public service) said Laus.

His wife has filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) for third district board member last year.

Laus started his career and aspirations by vending sweet potato in a cart around the city before venturing into clothing and apparel and establishing the legendary for-men-only shop Laus Men's World in downtown San Fernando. From there, he set his sights on public service and won overwhelmingly as top councilor in elections.

The PB's "father and peacemaker"

In a radio interview Tuesday, Vice Governor Joseller "Yeng" Guiao branded Laus as the PB's "father" and "peacemaker".

"Siya ang aming Tatay at peacemaker sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board). Madalas, iniimbitahan niya kami sa kanyang tahanan at doon namin pag-uusapan at aayusin ang mga issue. His presence in the PB during sessions earned him our respects at ang turing namin sa kanya, tulad ng pagtawag namin ay 'Tang Pinong.' Malaking kawalan siya sa PB at sa buong probinsiya dahil malawak ang naging serbisyo niya bilang board member at konsehal," said Guiao.

He added that since Laus was affiliated with Lakas-Kampi-CMD, it will be the party's decision to find a substitute for him in the third district seat that is now vacant following his death.

Guiao also said he and the PB, as well as the Provincial Government employees are willing to pay their last respects to Laus in necrological services for him at the Capitol before he is finally laid to rest.

Laus' remains currently lie in state at his old house at Lexus Street in St. Dominic Village in Barangay San Agustin. (Jovi T. De Leon)