Negros Occidental and Bacolod City officials held off issuing statements on the death of Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr. until late yesterday amid confusion on whether he had actually died or not.
Earlier in the day former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo announced the death of his brother in London but, later retracted, saying he was still on life support.
The confusing news of the congressman’s condition even caused the flag in front of the House of Representatives to be flown at half-mast, and later to be raised back to the top.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said he was saddened by the death of the congressman.
“He is a great loss to the province,” he said, noting that Arroyo was young and at the height of his career.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said “Whatever your political affiliation or inclination is, you can say Cong. Iggy was a fine gentleman. He was mild-mannered and never displayed any ounce of arrogance, even at the height of their power. We are saddened by this bad news and may his soul rest in peace.”
Rep. Alfredo Marañon III (Neg. Occ., 2nd District) said he was shocked to hear the news about Arroyo, the last time he saw him he was getting better and doctors had a cure for his liver ailment.
Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) asaid “Let us pray for him and his family in this hard time.”
Benitez and Negros Occidental Board Member Partick Lacson had tried to visit Arroyo at the London Clinic yesterday.
“We could not go up because it was too early in the morning. We left a note for Grace and the family, saying we passed by since Cong. Benitez had to catch a plane at 10 a.m.,” Lacson said.
Rep. Mercedes Alvarez (Neg. Occ., 6th District) said she was saddened by the death of Arroyo.
“He was a good man and had many plans for his district. He was a very supportive colleague, especially with the bill converting NSCA( Negros State College of Agriculture) into a state university. He will be missed,” she said.
Former Negros Occidental Board Member Enrique Lacson, said “I am saddened by his passing. We've been friends for so long and he will truly be missed. We've known for sometime about his health but despite this, he continued to serve his constituents and served them well.”*CPG