Vice Gov Sanchez dies of lung cancer
- Rene U. Borromeo, () - April 30, 2011 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Cebu Vice Governor Gregorio Sanchez, Jr. succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 68 at around 2:40 a.m. yesterday at the Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City.

His body is now at the Crystal Palace in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, for public viewing. No date for burial has been scheduled yet.

Some of those who have already visited his wake include Liberal Party provincial chairman Hilario Davide III who was the running mate of Sanchez in the last election.

His friend, Cebu fourth district Rep. Benhur Salimbangon also visited him.

Sanchez’s nephew and Busay, Cebu City, barangay captain Eliodoro “Yody” Sanchez said there are no burial plans yet as they have to wait for the decision of his widow, Leonarda.

Yody said the wake is open to anybody who wants to have a last glimpse of the vice governor, even to Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, with whom the vice governor fought bitterly before his death.

Yody said several weeks before his uncle died the latter was still hoping that he will be cured of his illness so he can pursue his dream to construct the Trans-Axial road project.

The Trans-Axial road, planned by Sanchez a long time ago, is a road network that will pass through the mountains of Cebu from Daanbantayan to Santander. It was not realized because of the objection of the vice governor’s political enemies.    As a civil engineer, Sanchez also designed the dome house of former Cebu governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña on top of a mountain in Busay.

 The barangay captain also said before the vice governor’s condition worsened last month they had planned to send him to the United States, but his doctors advised them to wait until his condition became more stable.

“Nakasabot kami sa mga doktor nga dili usab sila gusto nga basin anha ra mamatay ang vice governor sa plane o kaha ibalik lang gihapon dinhi nga patay,” the barangay captain said.

Sanchez has been confined in different hospitals in Cebu City and in Manila since January but the family announced that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer only last week.

He stopped presiding the Provincial Board sessions since January 24 when he lost his voice.

The governor joined those who extended their condolences to the bereaved family.

Garcia also asked for an end to the digging up of all the bitterness and hate and instead contribute to giving peace to the soul of Sanchez and remember the good things he did when he was still alive.

Garcia also ordered yesterday that the flag at the Capitol building be flown at half mast for six days in conformity with Republic Act 8491, also known as the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines.

The Capitol has yet to arrange the necrological service for Sanchez.

Sanchez’s counsel, Oliveros Kintanar, was saddened when news about the death of his client broke yesterday morning. Kintanar said Sanchez was not just his client but also a friend.

Sanches is the longest serving vice governor in Cebu Province after getting elected three times since the enactment of Local Government Code of 1991 which limited the terms of elected officials.

Sanchez also served as PB member under vice governors Democrito Barcenas from April 14, 1986 to November 26 1987 and Enrique Rama from February 15, 1988 to June 30, 1992.

Apolonio Abines served from for two terms as vice governor on July 1, 1992 to June 30, 1995 and July 1, 1995 to June 30, 1998 while Fernando Celeste served as vice governor on July 1, 1998 to June 30, 2001 and John Henry Gregory Osmeña on July 1, 2001 to July 30, 2004.

It was during this time Sanchez came back to the Capitol as PB member, he was appointed in 2002 to replace PB Member Andres Corominas who died in office.

Sanchez was elected vice governor in 2004 elections serving the office from July 1, 2004 until his death.

 Mayor Michael Rama said the public will no longer see Sanchez in person, but they will never forget him because of his sincere dedication to public service.

Rama said he and Sanchez used to be allies in the now-defunct Partido Panaghiusa and both of them were very close to each other, although they served in different local government units.

Cebu City South district Rep. Tomas Osmeña, who is a cancer survivor, earlier advised the family of Sanchez to avail of the state-of-the-art facilities of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in the United States. He chose not to comment about the latest turn of events saying he prefers to respect the privacy of the family. (FREEMAN)

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