PROFILE: The Furigays and their 18-year rule in Lamitan, Basilan

Anna Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2022 03:35 PM

Former Lamitan, Basilan Mayor Mary Rose Furigay. Photo from her official Facebook page
Former Lamitan, Basilan Mayor Mary Rose Furigay. Photo from her official Facebook page

MANILA — The Furigay family was catapulted into the national spotlight on Sunday after its matriarch, former Lamitan, Basilan Mayor Rosita "Rose" Furigay, was shot dead with 2 others inside the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) campus in Quezon City.

Her daughter Hannah Marian was injured in the shooting, but is reportedly recovering as of writing.

ABS-CBN News takes a look into the profile of the Furigay family, who are considered a household name in Basilan's local politics.


Since becoming a city in 2007, Lamitan has only had Rose Furigay and her husband Roderick as its mayors.

Roderick served 3 consecutive terms from 2004 to 2013. He was then succeeded by Rose, who also served 3 terms until 2022. 

After Rose's stint in office, her husband again took over as mayor after winning the May 9 polls. 

Under Rose's watch, Lamitan consecutively bagged the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Seal of Good Local Governance.

“Sobra-sobra po award niya in 9 years. During her term from 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 awardee [po siya] ng seal of local good governance. That’s the highest na binibigay ng DILG,” said Atty Quirino Esguerra Jr., the Furigay family's legal counsel.

(She had so many awards in 9 years. During her term from 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, she was an awardee of the seal of local good governance. That’s the highest recognition given by the DILG.) 

Esguerra said the Furigay matriarch ran a “very transparent” government. 

“Ang pinaka ni Mayor Furigay ay iyong transparency in 9 years sa transaction ng Lamitan City,” he said. 

(Mayor Furigay's main focus was transparency in the transactions of Lamitan City.) 

The mayor's projects in her 9-year stint included “Rose Power," which provided Lamitan with backup power during blackouts. 

Meanwhile, former vice president Leni Robredo described the Furigays as “strong supporters” of her Angat Buhay program in the region. 

“Lamitan City Government, under her (Rose's) leadership, provided the land in Bgy Buahan where our Yakan Weaving Center now stands. We have been to the beautiful city of Lamitan many times and we join the people in their grief,” Robredo wrote in a Facebook post.


The Furigay matriarch was supposed to attend her daughter's graduation from the Ateneo Law School when she, her aide Victor Capistrano, and ADMU security guard Jeneven Bandiala were shot by doctor Chao-Tiao Yumol, police said. 

The alleged gunman fled the scene by forcing a driver out of their vehicle, before abandoning it and continuing his getaway in a jeepney, police said. 

He was eventually detained near a church. 

Police recovered 2 handguns and a silencer allegedly used by the suspect, who they said had a "long history" of legal disputes with Furigay. 

Yumol was on bail for a cyberlibel charge. 

"This looks to be a determined assassin," Police Brig. Gen. Remus Medina told reporters, describing the incident as "isolated".

School and university shootings are rare in the Philippines despite its lax gun rules. But targeted killings of politicians are fairly common, particularly during elections. 

Ateneo de Manila University cancelled Sunday's graduation ceremony.

In a statement, the university condemned the shooting and said it had "robbed the members of the Law School class of 2022 of what was supposed to be a joyous celebration."

The incident happened on the eve of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s first State of the Nation address, in which he is expected to present his plan for reviving the economy and tackling inflation.

Marcos expressed shock at the incident and said law enforcement agencies would "thoroughly and swiftly investigate these killings and bring all involved to justice". 

 — With a report from Agence France-Presse 


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