Cebu jurist Regalado Maambong, one of the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, succumbed to cancer last Friday at the age of 72.
Maambong, a known expert in criminal and election law, served as a justice in the Court of Appeals and commissioner in the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
He was in his condominium unit in Quezon City when he died of multiple organ failure, according to his son, former Cebu Provincial Board member Victor Maambong.
“He was in and out of the hospital because of his cancer. He was undergoing chemotherapy,” Victor said.
Maambong’s remains lie in state at the St. Peter’s Memorial Chapel in Manila where he will be cremated tomorrow as part of his last instructions.
His ashes will be brought to Cebu on Thursday or Friday.
Maambong, who was born in Sta. Fe town, studied pre-law at the University of San Carlos in Cebu and finished his law degree at Ateneo de Manila. He passed the bar, landing in the top 20.
He was a licensed criminologist and served as dean of the College of Criminology of the University of the Visayas.
Maambong, the legislator, won a seat in the first regular Batasang Pambansa in 1984 under the KBL party of the late Ferdinand Marcos.
His legal expertise and integrity, however, saw him appointed three times by President Corazon Aquino—as Cebu regional trial court judge, as a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, then as Comelec commissioner.
After his retirement from Comelec, Maambong ran for Cebu governor in 2001 but lost to Pablo Garcia.
In 2002, President Gloria Arroyo appointed Maambong associate justice of the Court of Appeals where he served until 2009 as chairman of the 15th Division.
Maambong also ran for senator last year under the KBL-PMP party but he did not win.
Chief Justice Renato Corona, who attended the wake Sunday night, described Maambong as a “great and brilliant man and a big loss in the legal circle.”
“He was a great man. A constitutionalist, an election expert and a great jurist,” said Corona.
Mambong got to serve in the executive and legislative branches, and pushed for poll automation in the Comelec, a dream realized in the May 20 10 elecitons.
Son Victor said doctors found a malignant mass in Maambong’s urinary tract last year.
He underwent several operations and chemotheraphy but the cancer had spread to other organs.
When Maambong ran for senator last year, as a KBL candidate, he already had some complaints about his health.
Victor said his father wanted to be cremated and avoid a long funeral wake.
He said the jurist asked for a simple burial beside the grave of his father, Judge Joaquin Tagalog Maambong in Sta. Lucia, Asturias town, western Cebu.
A close friend, Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy who was elected assemblyman with him in 1984, said Maambong was a big loss to Cebu and the country because of his legal skills and brilliance.
Maambong is survived by two sons Victor and Renren, and five grandchildren.