Former Cebu governor and congressman Pablo “Pabling” Garcia passed away on Wednesday. He was 95.
Garcia’s death was announced by his son, incumbent Cebu 3rd District Rep. Pablo John Garcia, in a Facebook post.
“It is with deep sorrow that the family of Pablo ‘Pabling’ Garcia announces his passing last night, the 18th of August 2021,” the younger Garcia said.
Lawmakers led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Thursday mourned the passing of their former colleague and political patriarch, who was the father of current Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and former GSIS chairman Winston Garcia.
“He was a devoted public servant who dedicated two-thirds of his life to public service — an extraordinary feat worthy of emulation,” Velasco said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar also condoled with Garcia’s family.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the rest of the Garcia family.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, their family and friends,” Andanar said.
Velasco said Garcia had served the people of Cebu province from 1951 to 2013 in various capacities—councilor, board member, congressman, vice governor, and governor—”with utmost dedication and commitment.”
“Cebu and the entire nation lost an exceptional public servant admired for his diligence, intelligence and integrity,” Velasco said.
He served several terms in the House of Representatives representing the third district of Cebu, from 1987 to 1995, and then the second district of Cebu from 2007 to 2013.
“He will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him and working with him. We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to his bereaved family, especially to his son and our colleague,
Deputy Speaker and Cebu 3rd District Rep. Pablo John Garcia,” added the House chief.
Garcia, Andanar said, will be remembered, especially by Cebuanos, for his “exemplary work and his dedication to public service and as a trial lawyer, law professor, and esteemed constitutionalist.”
“Aside from serving as the provincial chief executive of Cebu, Governor Pabling’s dynamic political career includes serving as vice-governor, congressman, and deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, among others,” he said.
Garcia, who ranked third in the 1951 Bar Examinations, served as Cebu governor from 1995 to 2004.
Before that, he was a municipal councilor of Dumanjug, Cebu in 1951 and a senior board member of Cebu province from 1967 to 1969.
He was also Cebu’s vice governor from 1969 to 1971 before being elected as Cebu 3rd District representative from 1987 to 1995.
Garcia also became a representative of Cebu’s 2nd District in 2007 and served as House Deputy Speaker in the 14th and 15th Congresses.
His sons Marlon and Nelson died a week apart in September 2020. While Marlon tested positive for COVID-19, the Garcia family denied that the coronavirus caused his death.
Pablo is survived by his children Gwendolyn, Diedra, Winston, Byron, Farla, and PJ. His wife Esperanza Fiel Garcia, a former judge, died in 2016.