Bohol mourns as Rep. Aumentado dies
MANILA, Philippines—All flags in Bohol were flown at half-staff on Wednesday in honor of former governor and second district Rep. Erico Aumentado, who died on Christmas evening after a battle with pneumonia.
Bohol provincial administrator Alfonso Damalerio Jr. said they were trying to arrange the dispatch of the lawmaker’s remains to the Provincial Capitol in Tagbilaran City for the necrological services.
A former governor, Aumentado, 72, died at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Global City at 8:37 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the House of Representatives media relations office.
The House will hold a necrological service for Aumentado at 10 a.m. Thursday to pay tribute to the lawmaker, a member of the House minority who chaired the committee on ethics and privileges.
A wake is also being held for Aumentado at the La Funeraria Paz in Quezon City before he will be flown back to Bohol where he will be buried.
Aumentado, who also headed the special panel tasked to draft the House rules on the release of its members’ statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), was hailed by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte as an “exemplary public servant” and credited him for turning Bohol into “one of the most progressive, peaceful and richest provinces today.”
Belmonte said Aumentado remained faithful to his oath and always hewed to the highest standards of public office.
“He was truly an outstanding solon—learned, dedicated and principled,” he said in a statement.
“Eric’s integrity and honor have never been in doubt. He died a poor man because he never made politics the source of his livelihood,” Belmonte added, describing Aumentado as a dear friend and a colleague he held in high esteem.
Another colleague, Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, said Aumentado’s death was a “great loss not only to Bohol but to our country.”
Evardone described Aumentado as “very passionate about democracy, rule of law and protection of the interests of the less fortunate sector.”
“He was a dedicated and very sincere public servant,” Evardone said.
Ubay town Mayor Eutiquio Bernales, a second-degree cousin of Aumentado, said they were shocked and saddened when they learned of the death of the congressman, who was a resident of barangay (village) Fatima in the town.
Bernales said Aumentado was a good leader who had implemented major projects in Bohol and in the second district.
Among of the major projects initiated by the lawmaker was the Bohol circumferential road, which boosted the tourism in the province, he added.
He also served as the chairman of the Regional Development Council and Regional Tourism Council of Central Visayas.
He was also a provincial board member and governor of Bohol and chairman of the influential 52-member bloc of Visayas congressmen.
Despite their opposing political affiliations, Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto extended his condolences to Aumentado’s family.
Aumentado rejoined the House in 2010, after completing three terms as Bohol governor—from 2001 to 2010. He was also the province’s House representative from 1992 to 2001.
He was expected to run for another term as congressman in the 2013 elections, under the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
Aumentado used to head the League of Provinces of the Philippines and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines. He was also a lawyer and former newspaper columnist.
In the House, he was a coauthor of the sin tax bill, which would impose higher taxes on cigarettes and alcohol products. The measure has since been signed into law by the President.
He was also one of the main authors of the bill to strengthen the National Electrification Administration to help boost its program to bring power to rural areas.
He also pushed a measure to declare the Chocolate Hills, a famous Bohol tourist spot, as national patrimony, national heritage park and geological monuments, and to penalize their pillage, destruction and defacement.
Another bill he championed was one seeking to strengthen the agricultural education and training in the Philippines by institutionalizing the Philippine Manpower Development Plan for Agriculture Entrepreneurship.
All in all, he sponsored or authored 96 measures and coauthored another 274.
Aumentado is survived by his wife, Peregrina Adlaon Cabagnot-Aumentado, three sons, five daughters, 19 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.