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MANILA, Philippines – Palawan 3rd District Representative Edward Hagedorn died at the age of 76 on Tuesday morning, October 3, his office confirmed.
A statement from his office posted on his official Facebook page said he died peacefully, but did not disclose the cause of death.
“Congressman Ed’s life speaks volumes, particularly in his role as a champion for the environment, tourism, agriculture, and peace and order. His efforts created inclusive spaces for the community and inspired a collective desire for change. It’s hard not to be infected by his energy and laughter, which he freely shares with everyone he encounters,” the statement also read.
Hagedorn had been the longtime face of Puerto Princesa, running the city for nearly 21 years from 1992 to 2013, with only a short break in 2001 after he became term-limited. A year later, he won in a recall election initiated by barangay leaders against his successor, and the Supreme Court allowed him to serve the unexpired term.
Newsbreak magazine reported in 2002 that, during Hagedorn’s time as father of Puerto Princesa, the city gained a reputation of having the lowest crime rate, as Hagedorn went after unscrupulous individuals destroying the environment.
“The root cause of the breakdown of peace and order is poverty and the corrupt and inefficient judicial system. Most of those who are in Muntinlupa are fall guys, made so because they didn’t have the money and the connections. So you have the criminals roaming freely, committing crimes again,” he told Newsbreak back then.
It was also during his term when the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park became listed as among the New 7 Wonders of Nature, boosting tourism growth in the province of Palawan.
In 2013, Hagedorn ran for senator after he was convinced by his friend, former president Joseph Estrada, but he lost.
He tried to regain control of city hall in a 2015 recall election and the 2016 general election, but lost both times to ally-turned-foe Lucilo Bayron, his brother in law. Bayron was among those who paid tribute to Hagedorn on Tuesday.
“Congressman Ed never failed to help in every possible way he could assist his constituents,” Bayron said in a statement.
After strings of election defeats, Hagedorn finally made his comeback in public office after winning in the legislative race in Palawan’s 3rd District in 2022. A local chief executive most of his career, it was his first foray in Congress.
In June, the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan convicted him of malversation of public property over his failure to surrender 14 firearms after his term as city mayor expired in 2013. The local police issued a statement, however, that the firearms had been turned over to them and been part of their inventory.
In another Facebook post on Tuesday, Hagedorn’s office gave details of the public viewing of his remains. A wake will be held at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral Parish in Puerto Princesa starting Tuesday.
Hagedorn will be laid to rest at the Loyola Memorial Gardens on Monday, October 9. A funeral mass will be held at the Skylight Convention Center at 9 am, followed by a funeral procession at 11 am and interment at 12 pm.
The city government of Puerto Princesa announced the traffic rerouting and parking plans for Hagedorn’s interment.