GENERAL SANTOS CITY — South Cotabato province is mourning the “sudden and unexpected” passing on Friday afternoon of former governor Hilario de Pedro III.
De Pedro died after reportedly suffering from stroke between 3 to 4 p.m. at his home in Barangay Palkan in Polomolok town. He was 66.
His elder sister Evangeline said the former official was found unconscious by his wife Carmen inside their room at past 4 p.m.
She said they immediately rushed him to the Howard Hubbard Memorial Hospital in Barangay Cannery Site in Polomolok but was declared dead on arrival.
“It was unexpected. He was quite healthy and active these past days,” she said.
Barangay Palkan chair Avelina Rencio, who rushed to the De Pedro household, said the former governor arrived at their house at past 2 p.m. after a traveling from Kidapawan City.
She said De Pedro immediately proceeded to their master’s bedroom to rest and even locked the door.
At past 4 p.m., she said De Pedro’s wife knocked on the door to wake him up but did not get any response.
Rencio said family members later found him slumped and unconscious by the bedside, and with a blood pressure monitor still attached to his arm.
A lawyer, De Pedro’s political career began in 1986 when he was appointed as acting municipal mayor of Koronadal by President Corazon Aquino.
He served as representative of South Cotabato’s second congressional district from 1988 to 1992 and provincial governor from 1992 to 2001.
De Pedro is a principal co-author of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 and author of RA 7079 of the Campus Journalism Act of 1991.
After several unsuccessful political bids, De Pedro was appointed provincial administrator of South Cotabato in 2012 by then Gov. Arthur Pingoy Jr.
In October last year, he filed his candidacy for provincial board member in the upcoming May elections under the slate of incumbent Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
Board member Vicente de Jesus, the NPC’s vice gubernatorial bet, described De Pedro’s passing as a big loss to their slate.
“We lost a great leader. He was huge for us considering his previous experiences as governor and congressman,” he said.
De Jesus said the former governor’s passing was “very unexpected” as he even joined them in several sorties in the province earlier this week.
He said De Pedro appeared very lively during the culmination last Sunday of Tantangan town’s 6th Kulitangtang Festival.
“The last time that I was with him was last Wednesday. So I really did not expect this to happen,”” he added. PNA/northboundasia.com