BEFORE Medellin Councilor Ricardo Ramirez was murdered while under hospital arrest at the Bogo-Medellin Medical Center Tuesday, he was a man who made Medellinons proud of who they were.
Ramirez began his political career as a councilor of Medellin on July 1, 1992, serving two terms until May 1998.
He became the town’s vice mayor from 1998 until 2007, mayor for nine years from 2007 to 2016, and again councilor in 2016.
Ramirez was cited for putting the town on the tourism map when it was chosen as one of the top 10 most visited towns in Central Visayas in 2014 by the Department of Tourism 7.
But in 2017, Ramirez’s fortunes changed.
He was arrested by Provincial Intelligence Branch operatives for possession of unlicensed firearms, ammunition and drug paraphernalia in his house in Barangay Caputatan Sur, Medellin on July 26, 2017.
He was detained at the Medellin Municipal Jail, but he was rushed to Cebu Doctors’ Hospital in Cebu City on Aug. 11, 2017 after his blood pressure shot up.
His lawyer, Innocencio Dela Cerna, successfully filed a motion before Regional Trial Court Bogo City Judge Antonio Marigomen for his transfer to the Bogo-Medellin Medical Center.
On Feb. 20, 2019, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology 7 members raided his hospital room through a greyhound operation, seizing items not allowed in a hospital’s premises including bottles of imported liquor, reams of cigarettes, lighters, cellular phones, wireless charges, a deck of cards and a portable speaker.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7 subjected Ramirez to a drug test, which yielded negative results.
Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, with whom he had had political differences, extended his condolences to Ramirez’s bereaved family Wednesday, June 19, 2019.
“I was also shocked. I knew him because we were able to meet when he was still mayor. I’m hoping for an immediate investigation,” Davide told reporters.
In 2013, then mayor Ramirez asked Davide to resign from office over allegations of mishandling the Typhoon Yolanda aid distribution.
The following year, Ramirez hit Davide anew, this time ordering the municipal treasurer to hold off any remittances due to the Capitol until the latter could repair and rehabilitate the provincial roads and bridges in Medellin.
In 2015, Ramirez and Davide met at the Capitol to discuss Medellin’s infrastructure needs.
Both claimed to have discussed the matter amicably, even landing on the front page of Superbalita Cebu’s Jan. 15, 2015 issue for shaking hands after years of political bickering. (WBS, RTF, VLA)