STO. TOMAS— Former secretary Antonio A. Villar Jr., the political kingmaker of Pangasinan and former Dangerous Drugs Board chairman from this town passed away on March 1 at the St. Luke’s Medial Center in Quezon City due to a lingering illness.
On his final trip from Quezon City to his hometown on Thursday, March 7, his constituents for more than four decades lined the streets as the convoy that carried his remains arrived to bring him to his residence in in Barangay San Antonio where an vigil was held the night before.
His remains were later brought to the St. Thomas Aquinas Church here until the internment on March 9 at the town’s memorial park.
He is survived by his wife, former Sto. Tomas mayor Vivien Villar, their only child former Provincial Sangguniang Kabataan chairman Marie Antonnette Villar-Pescador and their three grandchildren Toni, Gari and Aljo.
Meanwhile, the provincial board of Pangasinan passed a resolution on March 5 expressing deepest sympathies and sincerest condolences to the bereaved family of Villar.
The resolution principally authored by Fifth District Board Member Clemente Arboleda Jr. and all board members as co-authors, cited Villar popularly known as Bebot, as “a symbol of a vibrant leader and a strong pillar in the municipality of Sto. Tomas having served as mayor for 23 years from 1972 to 1992, then again from 2001-2004, making him the longest-serving mayor of the province.
“The late former Mayor Antonio A. Villar, Jr. is revered not only by his fellow mayors and other local officials for his being a former president of the Pangasinan Mayors’ League but by private sectors as well, as he had also spearheaded some important groups, like the Philippine Jaycees during his younger years and as founding chairman of Biskeg na Pangasinan, a group of political leaders in the province who banded themselves together regardless of their political color and affiliation for the common good of their provincemates,” the resolution said.
It added: Villar will always be remembered as a public servant for his efficient and effective services to the community and society during his tours of duty as chief of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group under the Arroyo administration and as assistant secretary for the Air Sector of the Department of Transportation and Communication and went on to serve as chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board under the Aquino administration.”
“The late former Mayor Antonio A. Villar, Jr has left a precious legacy of love to his family, dedication and professionalism to his colleagues, kindness to his friends and relatives and admiration and respect to his constituents,” it said.
The resolution said his demise has saddened not only the townspeople of Sto. Tomas but the entire province of Pangasinan.
The resolution was handed by the provincial board members led by Vice Governor Jose Ferdinand Calimlim, Jr during the wake in Quezon City.
He died at the age of 72. He would have turned 73 on March 24. (PhilStar Wire Service)
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