Basilenos bid Akbar goodbye

Thousands of Basilan residents, including his three wives and children, witnessed the burial rites, according to Nurkaisa Alidain of the Basilan provincial capitol staff.

Akbar’s remains, wrapped in a white cloth in accordance with Islamic rites, were buried at 2 p.m. Muslims are buried within 24 hours from death.

Akbar’s remains arrived here at dawn Wednesday on board a commercial aircraft and transferred to a chartered commercial fastcraft for the trip to Isabela City in Basilan, arriving there at 8 a.m.

Besides his immediate family members, Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat and Akbar’s colleague Representative Ma. Isabelle Climaco accompanied his convoy from the airport to the wharf here.

Akbar was declared dead past 10 p.m. Tuesday at the  Far Eastern University hospital in Quezon City.

Lantawan Mayor Tahira Ismale, Akbar’s niece, said the congressman’s death is “a big loss to the province.”

Akbar is a known influential political figure in the province with his close family members and supporters holding majority of the elective and appointive posts in the province. His first wife Jum Akbar is now the provincial governor, a position which he  held for three consecutive terms before becoming a congressman of the province’s lone district. His second wife, Cherrilyn, is the mayor of the province’s capital Isabela City while his third wife Nur-in ran for mayor in Lamitan City but lost to incumbent Roderick Furigay.

Aside from Akbar, also killed were Marcial Tando, driver of Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan and Maan Gale Bustalino, staff member of Negros Oriental Representative Pryde Henry Teves.

Police accounted nine others injured in the blast, including Ilagan and Teves. (Nung Aljani/MindaNews)