CEBU CITY — Cebuanos bade goodbye to City Mayor Edgardo Labella, who was laid to rest on Friday, Nov. 26.
Paying their last respects to Labella, hundreds showed up at the City Hall, along the funeral procession route and at the Golden Haven Memoria Park in Barangay Talamban.
A necrological service was held at the grounds of the City Hall before a requiem Mass that presided over by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma was held at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral.
Mayor Michael Rama, Vice Mayor Donaldo Hontiveros and lawyer Floro Casas Jr., who recently resigned as City Administrator, were among those who delivered eulogies for Labella, who passed away last Friday due to septic shock secondary to pneumonia.
An emotional Casas narrated that it was in June last year that Labella confided to him his health condition.
Casas said there were times that Labella suffered extreme pain in his knees and feet that made it difficult for him to walk.
“That’s why I would suddenly hold you when I walk because I don’t want the people to see me fall,” Casas said in Cebuano, recalling one of his conversations with Labella.
Casas said Labella opted not to make public his health condition so the people could focus more on the efforts that the city took to manage the city’s COVID-19 situation.
The mayor also decided not to take a leave of absence at the time when the city was experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Despite his deteriorating health, Labella was hands-on in the city’s fight against COVID-19 and yet he was still heavily criticized by “fake health experts in social media,” said Casas.
Casas said there was a time when Labella cried due to the immense criticism that was hurled against his administration at the height of the pandemic.
“Since Friday, I have been reading praises and sadly these praises came from people who criticized him when he was still alive,” Casas said.
At the requiem Mass, Palma described Labella as good leader who never ceased serving his constituents during the pandemic despite his health problems.
Labella had been in and out of hospital before he died. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer 12 years but was since cleared the disease. He was then diagnosed with sepsis or blood infection that forced him to take a medical break multiple times starting last year.
Along the route of the funeral convoy, healthcare workers and policemen were among those who waited to express their sympathies. Fire trucks also lined up along the funeral procession route and gave the departed a mayor a water salute.