There are very few heartbreaks worse than that of losing a close friend.
(Photo from Migz Zubiri’s Facebook)
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Anakalusugan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor, and Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers are going through such pain and mourning with the recent passing of their fellow member of the “Spice Boys”, the late Camarines Sur 1st district Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya.
Zubiri and Defensor in particular seem to be coping with the loss by reminiscing about the good old days with their pal Andaya, who is a former House majority leader and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) secretary.
“To my dear friend Nonoy Andaya, words cannot express how we feel about your passing. Sobra kang magaling at matalino (You are very good and smart) but most of all you we’re always a loyal friend,” Zubiri wrote on his Facebook at past midnight Saturday, July 2.
The post came with a video of Zubiri, Defensor, and Andaya singing “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbinson.
“This video is how I would like to remember you.. always smiling, always laughing, always jolly but most of all a one and true Spiceboy of the 11th congress. I wish we had that dinner we were long planning with the boys. I shall miss you my friend,” the senator said.
In a succeeding post, Zubiri said of Andaya: “Rest in Peace my friend and be reunited with your wife Marissa again at that happy place in the sky… May God bless your soul and give you everlasting life. Amen.”
Andaya, 53, a widower, allegedly took his own life at around 7 a.m. last June 30. He was found in his bedroom within his Naga City home with a bullet wound in the right side of his head.
Incidentally, June 30 is Defensor’s birthday. “I am so sad that I recieved this tragic news on my birthday, a supposed day of celebration,” he said last Tuesday.
“Nonoy is one of one my closest friends. We were together in Congress and in the Cabinet. We share the same kind of sense of humor which many people may find weird,” said Defensor, who served as Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“I remember one time when Pres GMA called him to her office. He was literally running and when he saw me , catching his breath, asked if the Pres was in a good mood. I told him yes and is ,infact, in a happy mood,” he recalled.
“He went in as I hid behind the door and I saw the Pres shouting as regards a data in the budget (Noy was DBM secretary) she could not ascertain. I was laughing quietly pointing at him as Noy looked at me standing behind President GMA who was sitted down typing,” Defensor continued.
“He was cursing me with no sound as I laughed through his ordeal. We both went out of the room laughing as he was giving me the ‘bad sign’ for playing a trick on him,” he further said of his fellow Spice Boy.
Defensor then spoke of the closeness between Nonoy and his late wife, who tragically passed away due to an ailment in July 2020.
“The death of Marissa, his dear wife, took a toll on him. She was his reason for being. He could not do anything without her.”
Another Spice Boy, Barbers, said that we was “out of words” over the news of Andaya’s death.
“I’ve known Nonoy since college days to be a fun, jolly, and a cheerful person! I will miss his company, his jokes, his friendship, and our camaraderie!” he said.
Barbers described the late Andaya as “very witty” and gives no dull moments whenever he is around.
“That’s what i fondly remember about Noy. Walang masamang tinapay diyan (He doesn’t seek conflict), very friendly pero wag mo awayin dahil ‘di umaatras yan (but don’t cross him because he doesn’t back down)! May you rest in peace, Noy!” he added.
The Spice Boys gained fame in 1999 when they became the face of the opposition in the House of Representatives during the Joseph Estrada presidency. Named after British pop sensation the Spice Girls, this clique of lawmakers were dubbed the new blood of Philippine politics at that time and spoke openly against Charter Change or Chacha.
Hernani Braganza (1st district, Pangasinan), Federico Sandoval II (Navotas-Malabon), and Magtanggol Gunigundo II (lone district, Valenzuela) were also part of the Spice Boys.