Last of 3 Baguio ‘witches’ passes at 98


BAGUIO CITY  – The last of the three Baguio ‘witches’ and the first lady mayor the Summer Capital ever had passed Tuesday night at the age of 98.

Virginia ‘Gene’ de Guia proved to be the last among the three ‘witches’that survived after Leonrora San Agustin and Cecile C. Afable went back to their creator in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

De Guia whose remains lie in estate at the La Paz funeral homes until Sunday, is now at peace, leaving the city with her love and legacies that will always be remembered.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan cited de Guia as a worthwhile advocate for genuine public service and environmental preservation and protection.

“We thank the Lord for giving us a noble public servant who was able to lead the city and set an example of worthwhile living,” Domogan stressed.

He disclosed the latest contribution of the de Guia family to the city government was the donation of their 95-hectare property in Sto. Tomas Apugan to the local government which is now being eyed as the permanent site of its integrated solid waste management facility, public cementery expansion among other public uses.

“She left us the quality of competent leadership, simple living and credible decision-making,” the local chief executive said.

While she was a critic of every administration, Domogan explained her suggestions and recommendations were worthy of consideration in the crafting of appropriate policies for the welfare of the people of the city.

He cited her passion for the preservation and protection were worthy of consideration and implementation.

Meanwhile, Mayor Mauricio Domogan also lauded De Guia for her valuable contribution to the city.

According to Domogan, de Guia was actively involved in the crafting in the city land use plan and the zoning ordinance. One of her more notable contributions is also being one of the convenors of the environmental group Alay sa Kalinisan, Inc.

Domogan was also the de Guia family’s former legal adviser and thus a close family friend.

De Guia was one of those who fought for the betterment of the Summer Capital.

Former mayor Peter Rey Bautista, a friend to the De Guia said that madam ‘Gene’ was a mother to everyone, even when she was no longer the mayor.

Bautista recalled memories of De Guia’s visit to his office during his term as a mayor.

Usually a man would be thrilled if he is to welcome three women, but it was not the same case with Bautista as his visitors were the “three witches.”

He said his staff would always be instructed to leave his office once the three witches are around as he already know he is about to receive lectures.

“They would always go to the Mayor’s Office to reprimand or scold me for everything that I may have done or the decisions I made as a mayor,” said Bautista adding he was a son to the three that he called Afable and San Agustin ‘mama’ while he would call De Guia as “mommy.”

Being a family friend, Bautista acknowledge the bond he had with De Guia and lessons he has learned from her.

“She was brilliant. She was the only one who beat (former president Ferdinand) Marcos (in academics and debates) and even Marcos was so amazed with her that he spoke highly of her,” he said.

De Guia, like Afable and San Agustin, was an advocate of the protection of environment that the three of them once hugged an agoho tree to play up a protest against then proposed flyovers in Kennon Road and Marcos Highway.

De Guia also helped in the establishment of the “Ang Ating Tahanan,” a camping site and training center for Girl Scouts with the belief that scouting plays a significant role in personal development of children and community service.

Aside from her service as an acting chief executive, De Guia never forgot to contribute to the city.

Saddened by De Guia’s death, Bautista believes Baguio City just lost one of its finest.

By Dexter A. See