Archbishop who led anti-casino protest buried in CDO

Archbishop Antonio Ledesma (in purple robes) leads the burial rites for Archbishop Emeritus Jesus Tuquib at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Cagayan de Oro on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/07 August) – Archbishop Emeritus Jesus Tuquib, who led the protest against government plan to put up a casino in the city in 1993, was laid to rest inside the Metropolitan Cathedral here Wednesday morning.

Tuquib served as archbishop of Cagayan de Oro for 18 years. He was 89 years old.

Current Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, a fellow Jesuit, led the Mass attended by five other Mindanao bishops.

Ledesma said Tuquib succeeded in preventing the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) from opening a casino at the defunct Pryce Plaza Hotel overlooking the city.

Believing that the casino will “gradually and surely destroy the positive and moral values“ of the Cagayan de Oro residents, Ledesma said the late prelate instructed all parishes to bring the people to the streets.

Over 15,000 parishioners joined the march to Pryce Plaza Hotel on June 15, 1993, according to Monsignor Tex Legitimas, then the vicar general of the archdiocese.

Legitimas said Tuquib and the late Cagayan de Oro Mayor Pablo Magtajas led the parishioners in marching up the hill where Pryce Plaza Hotel stands to show their resolve.

He said Tuquib later sent a letter to then President Fidel Ramos reminding him that Pagcor “should operate in areas where there is public acceptance”.

Ramos relented and ordered Pagcor to stop its plan to open a casino.

“That was Tuquib’s legacy to Cagayan de Oro which until today has remained casino-free,” Ledesma said.

In 2001, Tuquib also figured prominently by leading the protest marches against former President Joseph Estrada who was accused of corruption and later on forced to step down.

Tuquib, a native of Clarin town in Bohol, was the first Filipino archbishop of Cagayan de Oro.

The first archbishop, Santiago Hayes, was an American, and his successor, Patrick Cronin, was an Irish Columban missionary.

Tuquib served as bishop of Pagadian Diocese before becoming archbishop of Cagayan de Oro.

Following tradition, he was buried alongside Cronin and Hayes at the back of the Cagayan de Oro Metropolitan Cathedral.

Father Cerilo Isnani, Tuquib’s constant companion said Tuquib’s remains was placed in a donated expensive white coffin.

Before the donation came it was placed inside a poor man’s coffin, Isnani said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)