A HUMBLE servant-leader.
This was how former Cebu 4th District congressman Benhur Salimbangon was remembered by his family and friends who attended his requiem at the Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, on Wednesday, December 30, 2020.
Salimbangon, 75, who passed away on December 24 after losing his battle with cancer, was laid to rest on December 30 at the Mactan Island Memorial Garden in Lapu-Lapu City.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma officiated the requiem which was concelebrated by Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Midyphil Billones and several other priests and auxiliary bishops emeritus of Cebu.
Monsignor Roberto Alesna of the Archdiocesan Shrine of Sta. Teresa de Avila in Talisay City and also a family friend, gave the homily during the requiem.
In his homily, he said Salimbangon had always been appreciated by the Catholic church, especially in the parishes under his district including the parishes in Tabogon, Tabuelan, San Remigio, Medellin, Daanbantayan, Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island and Bogo City.
"The Province of Cebu has not only appreciated Benhur when he passed away, but long before, the Province of Cebu has appreciated what Noy Benhur has done especially in the fourth district of the Province of Cebu," he said.
Salimbangon served as congressman of Cebu's fourth district from 2007 to 2019.
After the 2018 national elections, he was succeeded by his wife Janice, as the term limit prevented him from running.
Garcia later appointed him as Capitol consultant for the development of his own district.
Alesna said Salimbangon had lived his life "bravely, faithfully and as cheerfully as possible."
He also said though Salimbangon may have had limitations and shortcomings, the late former congressman tried as much as he could to live as a good husband, a father, a brother, a friend, a Catholic and a leader.
Moreover, his son John Elton, in a brief eulogy, recalled how his father had always taught him to be humble.
He also thanked Garcia, who was also present during the requiem, for pushing and supporting his father in achieving his dream of serving the Province as a congressman which, he said, had made his father realize his visions.
"Seeing everyone how he touched their hearts, our hearts, especially our friends in the Church, you've seen how humble my father was," he said.
He remembered the time his father acted strong despite the pain he was in when they visited Congress after undergoing a chemotherapy session in Manila in 2019.
He said that showed how his father lived his life and that his father was happy and proud with what he had done.
He said his father has indeed left a "very big shoe" to fill.
He also thanked his family who has been supportive of the late former congressman's long battle with cancer. The Congressman was diagnosed with cancer in 2018.
Elton's daughters Audrey and Martina, he said, were Benhur's primary caretakers during his stay in Manila for two months.
He also encouraged his father's friends and supporters to give time to their respective families just as how his father did to them despite being in the public service for 12 years, which he said was one-fifth of his father's life.
Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama also attended the requiem. (WBS)