Former Mindoro solon loses battle with COVID

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    FORMER Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali died yesterday morning after suffering from liver cancer and complications brought about by COVID-19. He was 63.

    The former three-term lawmaker passed away at 8:25 a.m. at a hospital in Taguig City, according to his son Ian Mikhael, who said in a radio interview that a small funeral will be held for Umali for three days before he is cremated.

    Umali’s death came a day after Metropolitan Manila Development Academy chairman succumbed to complications caused by the coronavirus disease at the St. Luke’s Hospital in Taguig. He was 65.

    Umali was hospitalized last December 12 after contracting the deadly virus along with his wife, son and several household staff. It was only the former congressman who was unable to recover.

    His brother, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Alfonso Umali Jr., said in a separate interview that his brother died of cardiac arrest after bacteria was found in his liver.

    The incumbent lawmaker said his younger brother was found positive for the deadly virus last December 12 and was diagnosed with Stage 3 liver cancer that reached Stage 4 after only a few days.

    The younger Umali was admitted to the intensive care unit on December 21, and was intubated on December 26.

    Deputy Speaker Michael Romero was deeply saddened by the death of the former congressman who is a “good friend of mine.”

    “Another victim of the deadly COVID virus, this is the third day in a row that good friends of mine fall prey to COVID-19. Please do not let your guards down. COVID is still alive and still vicious,” he said in a Facebook post.

    In 2012, under the Aquino administration, Umali hogged the limelight as part of the House prosecution panel in the impeachment case of Chief Justice Renato Corona where he claimed that documentary evidence was given to him by an anonymous source, a “small lady.”

    In 2018, Umali chaired the House committee on justice that voted to impeach then Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. He also later led the panel’s investigation into alleged drug-dealing inside the national penitentiary which led the filing of charges against detained Sen. Leila De Lima.

    Armed Forces chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay said Lim, a retired Army general who died of COVID-19 last Wednesday, “will be remembered as a respected leader who carried the AFP’s core values of honor, service and patriotism beyond his military career, as a civilian public servant.”

    “He exemplified the qualities of a true public official who upholds professionalism and integrity as he ably led the MMDA in performing its mandate, and especially its frontline efforts to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gapay said.

    Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier described Lim as an “esteemed leader, who valued public service above all else.

    “His vision, which he carried through from his beginnings as a young officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines to his later years as a civilian public servant, was to uphold good governance and lead by example,” said Lorenzana.

    Army spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala said Lim “is an exemplary leader who dedicated his life in serving the people, even amidst this pandemic.”

    The Department of Health reported 1,353 new COVID-19 cases, raising the number of infections in the country to 482,083. There were nine more deaths, meaning the deadly virus has claimed the lives of 9,356 Filipinos.

    In its latest bulletin, the DOH said Rizal had 63 new cases, Laguna 62, Marikina City 60, Quezon City 58, and Davao City 54.

    There were 360 new recoveries, meaning the number of survivors has risen to 449,052. The DOH said this means that 93.1 percent of patients had recovered.

    Less the deaths and recoveries, the DOH said there are 23,675 active cases, accounting for 4.9 percent of COVID cases in the country. – With Gerard Naval, Ashzel Hachero, Victor Reyes, and Noel Talacay

    Of the active cases, 82.3 percent are mild cases, 8.4 percent are asymptomatic cases, 5.8 percent are critical cases, 3.1 percent are severe cases, and 0.48 percent are moderate cases.

    The number of overseas Filipinos infected with the deadly virus continued to climb with 16 more new cases, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

    The number of overseas Filipinos sickened with the virus now stands at 13,017, with 8,460 having recovered and 3,623 still undergoing treatment.

    No new death was reported by the DFA among overseas Filipinos. In all, 934 overseas Filipinos have succumbed to the virus.

    Meanwhile, 22 more Taguig City residents have contracted the virus, raising the number of infections in the city to 10,717.

    Pasay City Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano ordered the city’s police force to determine how a COVID-19 positive balikbayan escaped from the city’s quarantine facility earlier this week.
    Yesterday, the balikbayan surrendered to the Pasay City police.

    Pasay City has so far recorded 6,767 confirmed cases, with 6,535 having recovered and 55 active cases with 177 deaths.