Bocaue Mayor Joni Villanueva passes away

Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2020 10:55 PM | Updated as of May 29 2020 01:31 AM

(UPDATE) For a town known nationwide for its fireworks and revelry, Bocaue is dark and gloomy tonight.

Residents of Bocaue, Bulacan are grieving the loss of their mayor, Joni Villanueva-Tugna, the sister of Senator Joel Villanueva and wife of former CIBAC partylist Rep. Sherwin Tugna.

Over the past few days, Senator Joel has tweeted asking for prayers for his sister.

Tonight, he tweeted a black screen, which was flooded by messages of sympathy from his colleagues and friends.

He then paid tribute to his sister, calling her Bocaue's "finest public servant".

"Today Bocaue lost its finest public servant. Mayor Joni was relentlessly serving Bocaueños during this lockdown despite her medical condition, which eventually caused her life. She’s more than a public servant to me, she’s my role model. Will terribly miss her," Senator Joel wrote, ending his tweet with a broken heart emoji and the hashtag, #gonetoosoon

The executive management board of the Jesus is Lord Church Worldwide confirmed the news via their Facebook page.

"Our hearts are grieving that today, at 5:08pm, our dear Mayor Joni, because of sepsis secondary to bacterial pneumonia, has left this world and has come home to her Father," the statement read.

"As shocking as it is, we trust in God's wisdom and sovereignty and believe that Mayor Joni is now at the best place in the world: in the arms of our Lord."

The ruling party PDP Laban also offered sympathies to the bereaved family.

"The PDP Laban offers its condolences, sympathies, and prayers for our beloved partymate Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna. She has always been one of our exemplar local chief executives as evidenced by her dynamic leadership in Bocaue, Bulacan."

The provincial government of Bulacan, headed by Governor Daniel Fernando, also offered its condolences to the Villanueva family.

"Ang Pamahalaang Panlalawigan ng Bulacan sa pangunguna nina Gob. Daniel R. Fernando, Bise Gob. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, mga Miyembro ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan, mga pinuno at kawani ay taus-pusong nakikiramay sa buong pamilya at sa mga Bocaueno na nagdadalamhati dahil sa pagpanaw ni Mayor Eleanor 'Joni' Villanueva-Tugna," it said in a statement.

"Hindi matatawaran ang iyong naging kontribusyon sa larangan ng serbisyo publiko. Maraming salamat sa iyong pagmamahal, paglilingkod at pagmamalasakit," it added.

Sympathy for the grieving family also poured online, with Mayor Joni trending on Twitter.

Several netizens tweeted about how the mayor's passing is a big loss to Bocaue.

One of the last projects of Mayor Villanueva-Tugna was her administration's purchase of fresh vegetables from Cordillera to be given as relief goods to residents affected by the lockdown.

The Tubong Bocaue, Bulacan Facebook page also shared the news and asked for prayers for the mayor.

It has been a particularly tough year for the Villanueva family as they lost their matriarch Dory Villanueva just a few months ago.

Mayor Joni Villanueva is a daughter of religious and political figure Bro. Eddie Villanueva.

She was serving for her second term, having won the mayoralty race during the 2016 elections.