Mel Mathay, former QC mayor, dies
Ismael Mathay Jr., who served as vice governor of the Metro Manila Commission and later mayor of Quezon City, died Wednesday of cardiac arrest. He was 81.
Precy Mathay, a sister-in-law, told the Inquirer in a phone interview, “We were all shocked. He was all right He was not sick and he looked healthier now more than ever,” she said.
She said that during a family gathering on Christmas Eve Mathay was “very happy.”
“The entire family heard Mass where he spoke of how Christmas means salvation and that we all have to be always ready (for death),” she recalled.
She said the former mayor woke up early Wednesday as usual at 4 a.m. and went through his regular routine of watching cable sports in the living room. Precy told the Inquirer that, oddly, Mathay called a housemaid and told her, “I’m feeling cold. Don’t leave me.”
He asked to be assisted to the bathroom but decided to pray first at the altar. “After his prayers, he asked to be assisted to the bathroom and it was then that he collapsed,” Precy said.
Mathay’s youngest son rushed his father to Medical City in Pasig City, where he was pronounced dead by doctors at around 9 a.m. from heart attack caused by an arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat.
“Among the Mathay brothers, he looked the healthiest,” Precy said, adding that Sulpicio and Ismael had been visiting their eldest brother who had been at the intensive care unit of a hospital for more than 100 days.
“He (Ismael) was even constantly accompanying my husband (Sulpicio) to a doctor because he had been sickly lately,” she said.
“He was always like that. He wanted to take care of everybody,” Precy said, her voice slightly faltering at the recollection.
Mathay’s remains lie at Chapels A and B of Christ the King Parish.
Mathay served as mayor of Quezon City from 1992 to 2001.
He started his career in government when he was elected vice mayor of Quezon City in 1967.
In 1973, he was appointed secretary to the commission of the General Auditing Office, then from 1979 to 1986 he served as vice governor of the Metro Manila Commission (MMC), the forerunner of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
As vice governor of MMC, he carried out the programs of then First Lady Imelda Marcos, the commission’s governor.
From 1980 to 1987, he served as director of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems, then became an assemblyman when he survived the opposition landslide in Quezon City during the 1984 Batasang Pambansa elections.
In 1987, he ran as an independent candidate and won as representative of the 4th district of Quezon City.
He also served as MMDA chair from 1993 to 1994.
Born in Manila on June 26, 1932, to former Auditor General Ismael Mathay Sr. and Josefina Mathay, he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration Major in Economics from the University of the Philippines, and with a Bachelor of Laws in San Beda College.
He was married to the late Sonya Gandionco, with whom he had four children—Ma. Aurora, Ismael III, Ramon and Ma. Sonya.
In February, Mathay married his longtime partner Vilma Valera. With a report from Inquirer Research