MANILA (3rd UPDATE) – Cebu City 1st District Rep. Raul Del Mar died on Monday night at a hospital in Manila. He was 79.
House Secretary General Jocelia Bighani Sipin confirmed his passing to ABS-CBN News but the cause was not disclosed. The death was also announced by the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC) Tuesday.
“We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family of former Deputy Speaker Raul Veloso Del Mar. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his constituencies in the First District of Cebu City, whom he had served well,” House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco said in a statement.
Velasco hailed Del Mar’s dedication to 27 years in public service and said the Cebu City lawmaker would have been a deputy speaker under his term.
“Representative Del Mar proved his passion and commitment to public service by religiously attending plenary sessions and public hearings of the House of Representatives in order to fulfill his duties and mandate as a lawmaker. He had perfect attendance for the 27 years that he was a lawmaker,” he said.
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez also mourned the passing of Del Mar, who he considered as “one of Cebu’s best.”
“Rep. Del Mar will be terribly missed in the halls of Congress, where he devoted most of his public life crafting legislation that aim to improve our people’s living condition,” he said.
“At a ripe age of 79, he never got tired of reporting for work to serve his constituents even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Del Mar was the principal author of the Cebu Press Freedom Day law and was called “Kampeyon sa Medya” or champion of the media from his legislative work on media concerns.
“A son of a journalist and manager of a local newspaper for a number of years, he had the media workers’ welfare at heart, helping the collective effort of media and citizens to have a free but responsible press in Cebu and improve the craft of journalists,” CCPC said in a separate statement.
The House of Representatives suspended its plenary session until Wednesday afternoon to mourn Del Mar's death.
The House approved House Resolution 1355, expressing the chamber’s condolences to the family of Del Mar. The resolution was authored by the House Leadership.
Prior to its adoption by the plenary, all members were made co-authors.
The flag within the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City was flown at half mast to officially mourn Del Mar's passing.
In March, the Cebu City lawmaker expressed support for ABS-CBN’s fresh franchise bid and filed a resolution that sought the extension of the network’s broadcast franchise until 2022.
Del Mar had served a total of 9 terms as congressman since 1987. His daughter Rachel represented the district in the 15th Congress.
Del Mar is the sixth incumbent congressman to die in the current Congress, after Rodolfo Albano, Marissa Andaya, Francisco Datol Jr, Nestor Fongwan and Maria Bernardita Ramos.
- With reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News