He has come home.
Dumaguetenos and Negrenses turned out by the hundreds to welcome the remains of the late Gov. Agustin Ramon Perdices Friday, two days after he succumbed to stomach cancer Wednesday in a hospital in Taguig City.
The remains of Perdices were brought home by his family on board the afternoon flight of Philippine Airlines after a two-night vigil at the Sanctuario de San Antonio in Makati City.
The Perdices family was welcomed by government officials led by Cong. George Arnaiz and Gov. Roel Degamo, city and municipal mayors, personal friends of Perdices, soldiers, policemen, government employees, Rotarians, scouts, and ordinary citizens.
From the airport, the hearse bringing Perdices’ casket proceeded at a slow pace toward Dumaguete City, trailed by about 50 Boy Scouts walking behind it. The hearse stopped at the St. Paul University of Dumaguete, the late Governor’s alma mater, where he also served as Trustee.
After prayers and songs from the students, teachers, administrators and alumni, the convoy proceeded to the Capitol, passing by crowds of people waving white flaglets and hand-written placards expressing their affection for their beloved leader. They also threw red and yellow flowers on the hood of the hearse.
Others chose to wait at the Provincial Capitol, where chairs and tents had been arranged outside for the two-day vigil. Msgr. Gamaliel Tulabing, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Dumaguete, celebrated mass at the Capitol lobby after the casket arrived.
On Sunday, the remains of Perdices will be transferred to the Dumaguete City Hall by noontime, where it will lie in state for two more days.
The final necrological mass will be held on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Dumaguete Cathedral Church, to be followed by the interment at the Dumaguete Memorial Park. Perdices will be laid to rest beside the tomb of his wife Ma. Eugenia Araneta-Perdices.
News of the Governor’s death which spread like wildfire before 6 p.m. last Wednesday shocked Dumaguetenos and Negrenses alike, as Perdices seemed he was getting stronger when he was in Dumaguete last December.
He had already completed six of the 12 chemotherapy sessions.
After hearing of the news, Vice Gov. Roel Degamo, who was acting governor, arranged for his oathtaking to be held the following morning of Thursday, together with that of Board Member Apolinario Arnaiz Jr.’s as vice governor.
However, Rep. George Arnaiz suggested to hold the oath-taking ceremony immediately to prevent a leadership vacuum.
Degamo then took his oath as governor before RTC Executive Judge Fe Lualhati Bustamante, while Arnaiz Jr. took his oath as vice governor before RTC Judge Noel Catacutan in simple rites Wednesday, 7:30 pm at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall.
Among the many people who sent messages of condolence to the family of Perdices was Geong Gu Bok, mayor of Yeongdong County in South Korea.
Under Perdices’ leadership, Dumaguete had established a sister- city relationship with Yeongdong County in 2009.
“We have lost one very dear brother through the demise of Agustin Perdices,” Mayor Geong said.