DOCTOR Rowena “Wee” Burden, 58, died due to cardiac arrest on Friday morning, Dec. 15, 2023.
Burden was a social activist, women’s and LGBTQ advocate, and a known staunch critic of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
Her nephew, Kristian Burden, confirmed on his Facebook page on Friday, the sudden death of his aunt.
“Kalit kalit kaayo (It was all too sudden),” he replied to one of the comments on his post.
Reports said Burden was rushed to a private hospital in Cebu City early morning of Friday after suffering from severe pain on her back. Attending doctors later pronounced her dead.
As of press time, Burden’s family had yet to issue a formal statement on her passing.
She is survived by her two children, Kimberley Therese Gothong and Khrys Burden, as well as four grandchildren.
In recent months, Burden gained more public attention for her strong criticisms against the governor, who subsequently filed over 10 cyberlibel cases against her for alleged personal and malicious attacks on Garcia made on social media.
Burden posted bail last Dec. 1 after three arrest warrants against her were issued by the Regional Trial Court Toledo City Branch 29.
During a press conference in September, Burden announced her candidacy for the 2025 gubernatorial race, bent on challenging Garcia.
Among her criticisms of the governor was the latter’s Covid-19 policy, which involved tu-ob or steam inhalation, and the official’s attacks on doctors who opposed her approach to the infectious disease.
Burden was part of the demonstration organized by the Cebu Coalition against the Pork Barrel System, and later took on the role of coordinating the “Cebu for Duterte” movement in 2016.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, she took charge of several humanitarian and medical missions, providing medical assistance to several communities.