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Former speaker Nicanor E. Yńiguez, 92

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
April 15, 2007

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  The grand old man of Southern Leyte politics, former Speaker of the Batasang Pambansa in 1984, Nicanor Espina Yńiguez, passed away last Friday at 4:30 p.m. at the Salvacion Oppus Yńiguez Memorial Provincial Hospital here. He was 92.

Yńiguez died of pneumonia, according to Carlos Lerias, a grandson.

The late Speaker had been hospitalized for quite some time, sitting in a wheelchair inside the provincial hospital, and at one moment he was brought to a Cebu hospital, where his right leg was amputated for diabetes complications.

"After we (immediate family members) gathered around and said our (goodbyes), my Tatay took his last breath. He just went to sleep,” Lerias said.

He was survived by his two children and their families – Southern Leyte Gov. Rosette Lerias, her husband Victor and their three children; and US-based son Alfredo Yńiguez and his three children.

His wife, Salvacion Oppus Yńiguez, a former Southern Leyte governor and professor at the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, died in September 2005. She was the daughter of the late Rep. Tomas Oppus.

“No Canong,” as he was called by his friends and supporters, carved a political career spanning almost three decades, from 1957 to 1986, when President Ferdinand Marcos, his classmate at the University of the Philippines College of Law, Class 1939, was ousted by the EDSA I revolt.

Twenty three years ago, Yńiguez was widely touted as a probable material for the presidency, being the number two man at that time, had it not been for the EDSA 1 uprising.

Yńiguez was the acknowledged father of Southern Leyete, having successfully pushed through a bill creating the province in 1957, which became Republic Act No. 2227, signed by then President Carlos Garcia on May 22, 1959.

Southern Leyte was inaugurated as a province on July 1, 1960, covering 16 towns, with Maasin as the capital and seat of the provincial government.

Over the years the number of towns rose to 18, while Maasin, the capital, became a component city in 2000.