FORMER Bacolod City councilor Napoleon Cordova was laid to rest Monday at Sanctuario de Bacolod in Barangay Alijis, as hundreds joined his family in paying their last respects to the man popularly known as “Mr. Happy Birthday.”
Cordova, who intermittently served as member of the City Council over a period of more than four decades, was fond of greeting every Bacolodnon he met with birthday wishes, whether or not it was their birthday.
As his body was brought to its final resting place on Monday, people sang the popular “Happy Birthday” song.
He was honored with a 21-gun salute as a former alderman who sat in the City Council from 1962 to 1966, 1988 to 1998, and 2004 to 2010.
Cordova’s son Shemrock, also a physician like his father, said that his father was extraordinary because he served the people without expecting anything in return.
“His medical service was always free. He never enriched himself in public service. He made a sacrifice for himself and family only to give his people the brand of service that truly touched lives,” Shemrock said.
Cordova’s colleagues led by Bacolod City Representative Evelio Leonardia remembered him as a humble person.
“I considered Dr. Nap a friend. We developed a relationship where everything becomes easy. His sense of humor and wit was something I enjoyed. We would always exchange banter. I felt that he was part of my career. Nobody can take away from him his signature ‘Happy Birthday.’ It is my first time to attend a funeral where a ‘Happy Birthday’ song was sung,” the lawmaker said.
Acting Mayor Greg Gasataya said Cordova helped thousands as a public servant and a doctor.
“I am a living witness as to how he helped the people of Bacolod. We really appreciate what he did for Bacolod,” he said.
Councilor Sonya Verdeflor said, “I was still a student when he was a councilor. He served Bacolod for three generations. He is an ideal example of a public servant.”
Other officials who paid their last respects to Cordova included Acting Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilors Ana Marie Palermo, Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, Em Ang, Caesar Distrito, Carlos Jose Lopez, and Alex Paglomutan.
Also present were former vice mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson, former councilors Al Victor Espino and Catalino Alisbo, Negros Occidental Provincial Board Member Raul Rivera, and businessman Vladimir Gonzalez, owner of Sanctuario de Bacolod.
Msgr. Felix Pasquin, rector of the San Sebastian Cathedral, officiated the Requiem Mass. He said Cordova regularly held free medical clinics at the cathedral after church services.
He would usually ride jeepneys or tricycles to go to barangays to conduct free consultations, Pasquin added.
“All his works were exemplary public service. His colleagues in public service can very well speak of him. Beyond his figure of Doctor Nap looms the large image of our loving and merciful Lord in solidarity with the poor and the sick,” he said.