Former Cebu governor Pablo ‘Pabling’ Garcia dies

Ryan Macasero
Former Cebu governor Pablo ‘Pabling’ Garcia dies

PATRIARCH. Former governor Pablo John Garcia dies on Wednesday, August 18.

PJ Garcia's Facebook

The Garcia dynasty patriarch was 95

Former Cebu governor Pablo “Pabling” Garcia, 95, died on Wednesday, August 18. 

Garcia’s son, current Cebu 3rd District Representative Pablo John “PJ” Garcia Jr. confirmed the news in a Facebook post early Thursday morning, August 19. 

“It is with deep sorrow that the family of Pablo ‘Pabling’ Paras Garcia announces his passing last night,” PJ said in his post. 

The elder Garcia was a three-term governor of Cebu, from 1995 to 2004.

Pablo placed third in the 1951 bar exam, the same year he began his political career as a municipal councilor of Barili town in southern Cebu.

He also served several terms in the House of Representatives representing the third district of Cebu, from 1987 to 1995, and then the second district of Cebu from 2007 to 2013. 

He was appointed deputy speaker during his last term in Congress from 2008 to 2013. 

The Garcia family patriarch is also the founder of the local One Cebu party, one of the most influential parties in vote-rich Cebu province, and the party that endorsed President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 election.

Pablo is also the third member of the Garcia family to die in less than a year during the pandemic.

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His sons Marlon and Nelson died a week apart in September 2020. While Marlon tested positive for COVID-19, the Garcia family denied that the coronavirus caused his death.

Pablo’s death comes after weeks of rumors that he was in the hospital.

However, the family has not confirmed if his death was linked to the coronavirus.

According to PJ, wake and interment services are only open to immediate family members, but they may hold necrological services once quarantine restrictions are lifted.

Pablo’s death comes a month after another former Cebu governor, Lito Osmeña, died in July.

Pablo is survived by his children: Gwendolyn, the current governor of Cebu, Diedra, Winston, Byron, Farla, and PJ.

His wife Esperanza Fiel Garcia, a former judge, died in 2016.

Pablo also has 27 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. – 

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.