Albay town flies flag at half-staff for ex-Mayor De los AngelesBy Inquirer Southern Luzon, Rey M. Nasol
LEGAZPI CITY—The Philippine flag is flying at half-staff in Sto. Domingo town with the death of its former mayor, Celso de los Angeles.
Sto. Domingo Mayor Herbie Aguas ordered that the Philippine flag be lowered at half-staff upon confirmation of De los Angeles’ death on Tuesday.
Emotions in the town veered toward sympathy for the controversial founder of the Legacy group of companies, who, before his death, was entangled in lawsuits.
Albay Governor Joey Salceda posted his condolences on his Facebook account with these words: “Our sympathies to the family, friends and loved ones of former Sto. Domingo Mayor Celso de los Angeles.”
Salceda did not elaborate but the “thread” elicited a handful of comments from netizens on the social networking site.
A woman, who identified herself as “Nanay Juanita,” said she was sad to learn of De los Angeles’ death, because the former mayor would no longer be able to serve Sto. Domingo.
“But I believe and hope one from his family will run in the coming elections to continue what he started here [Sto. Domingo],” the woman told reporters Wednesday.
Nanay Juanita said she was just one of thousands of residents who were satisfied with the leadership of De los Angeles “even though at the end of his term he was touted as a bad guy by his accusers.”
Aguas personally visited De los Angeles’ family in Manila to inquire whether there were plans to bring the former mayor’s body to Sto. Domingo. Aguas said he would respect any decision of the family.
He recalled that De los Angeles bought property in the town, lived there, and became one of his close friends before the latter decided to run against him for the mayoral seat.
De los Angeles first arrived in Sto. Domingo in 2005 to develop property in Barangay Calayucay. He called it the Black Sands Beach Resort, which also became his residence. Two years later, he successfully ran for town mayor.
As he was facing charges over the Legacy scam, De los Angeles instructed then Sto. Domingo Vice Mayor Edna Banda to take over as acting mayor. Aguas regained the mayoral seat in the 2010 elections.
De los Angeles blamed interference by regulators, unfair media reporting, extortion and adverse global economic developments for the closure of the rural banks of the Legacy group in 2008.