FORMER Cebu City Councilor Rogelio “Jingjing” Osmeña left a very important role in the training of policemen, but Mayor Tomas Osmeña assured that the City Government will try its best to fill the vacuum and continue his cousin’s unfinished businesses.

Tomas led city officials and employees in paying their last respects to the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) chairman at the Cebu City Hall social hall yesterday morning.

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During the City Council session in the afternoon, councilors observed a minute of silence to honor Jingjing.

It also passed a resolution expressing condolences to his family.

Jingjing’s remains were brought to City Hall yesterday for a mass and public viewing. The flag outside the building was also flown at half staff.

Tomas expressed his grief to Jingjing’s children, Amparo and Rogelio Jr., whom he condoled with by reminding them of the good things their father had done for Cebu City, which brought them to tears.

Jingjing, 68, succumbed to multiple organ failure secondary to acute respiratory distress syndrome, which caused a cardiac arrest past 1 a.m. Tuesday.

In his news conference yesterday, Tomas described Jingjing as “palaaway” but was a caring and kind man.

He recalled that Jingjing was fond of getting into arguments about anything, and even questioned and argued with him regarding some of his policies at City Hall, including the lease of multicabs.

“Jingjing (had a) very strong personality, he was a man of character. In other words, he’s not generic, he’s not someone who will blend into a crowd…It was very hard to get into a discussion with Jingjing because he’s very opinionated and he has a tendency to quarrel with his peers. But if you’re under him, he takes care of you,” the mayor said.

While they had arguments in the past, he said that they did not have an ongoing quarrel.

Councilor Edgardo Labella gave the same observation, saying that Jingjing had a “soft heart.”

The two were together during the 1998 to 2001 City Council.

Labella said Jingjing was just misunderstood for being a “result-oriented” type of person who wanted things done and right.

In fact, he said, Jingjing was moved to tears when he narrated in front of colleagues his ordeal after the sinking of the mv Princess of the Orient in 1998.

Labella said Jingjing was one of those who called him up while he was in his hospital bed after being rescued and was the first to visit him at home upon discharge from

the hospital.

“He was result-oriented. I’m saddened by the loss because he was a true friend,” Labella added.

Osmeña, for his part, told reporters that his cousin’s passing reminded him of his own near-death experience last year when he was diagnosed with stage IV urinary bladder cancer. He has since recovered from it.

“I told them that there was a time when I thought that I was going to die. There in Houston, I had nothing to do but think and I realized that when you die, you cannot take anything with you. You can’t take your watch with you, not even your toothbrush. That’s it, you’re cut off from everything. But I began to realize that you can take

something, and the only thing you can take with you is the love that people have for you,” said Tomas.

He said he continues to talk to Jingjing and asked the latter’s children to do the same.

“I told them to talk to him, he’s listening. Tell and assure him that you’ll take care of everything. Just like me, I pray and I tell him, ‘Don’t worry, just be at peace. I’ll take care of everything here’,” said Tomas.

Among Jingjing’s unfinished businesses, Tomas said, is the firearms proficiency training for the city’s policemen, which he initiated in 2003 as president of the Cebu Pistol and Rifle Association.

He said Jingjing was worried that they were still not getting financial assistance from the City Government because of the ban on granting financial assistance to nongovernment organizations whose officers are related to local officials.

But Osmeña said this was settled before Jingjing died.

“I cannot assure that we will continue what he’s been doing but of course, we will try. These are the loose ends that we will have to figure out,” he said.

At 8 a.m. tomorrow, a requiem mass will be offered at the Redemptorist Church before Jingjing is laid to rest at the Osmeña mausoleum in Barangay Carreta.