Iggy Arroyo laid to rest
MANILA, Philippines—After a legal dispute in London, an international journey and a shuffle back and forth between funeral wakes, the late Negros Occidental Representative Ignacio Arroyo was finally laid to rest Friday afternoon in the family mausoleum at the Manila North Cemetery.
The interment at the Tuason-Arroyo mausoleum at the corner of Main Avenue and 29th Street of the Manila North Cemetery saw the last two women in Arroyo’s life—estranged second wife Aleli Arroyo and his longtime partner Grace Ibuna—in attendance albeit at some distance from each other.
The two women were both seated on the front row, where the white folding chairs were arranged so that they were separated by an aisle. Aleli sat two seats apart from Arroyo’s brother Jose Miguel Arroyo, husband of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
While Aleli grieved quietly, a very emotional Ibuna openly wept and even hugged and kissed Arroyo in his open coffin as she cradled his head when it was time for family members to say goodbye.
After the Philippine flag was taken from the coffin, with everyone standing for the honors, the folded flag was handed over to Aleli, who in turn passed it to her daughter Bianca. The flag was with Bianca when Ibuna approached her to hold the cloth.
As the last shot in the gun salute was fired, Ibuna fell back on her seat, her knees seemingly giving way under her.
At around 1:40 p.m. the coffin of the late representative of Negros Occidental’s 5th district was inside a tomb across from that of his mother, Ma. Lourdes Arroyo, and beside one of his ancestors’, Pilar Tuason.
A member of the Arroyos’ staff told the Inquirer that the original plan was to bury him beside his mother but for some reason they were told to inter the body in the tomb across from her’s instead.
Butterflies were released after the interment as a symbol of freedom and the beginning of a new journey.
Iggy Arroyo died in London from complications of a liver ailment last January 26, but repatriation of his body was delayed by a legal dispute over who should take possession of it between Aleli Arroyo and Ibuna. A London court eventually decided in favor of Ibuna and Arroyo’s daughter from his first marriage.
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