CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - Former city mayor and known federalism advocate, lawyer Reuben Canoy, passed away Tuesday evening. He was 93.
Canoy's daughter, Rhona, said the Canoy patriarch died in their residence around 8:55 p.m. following a cardiac arrest.
"We didn't expect it to happen, but it was God's will. He was recovering well, yesterday (July 5) he was working on a book he was writing," she said in a radio interview Wednesday.
Following the announcement of Canoy's death, condolences from various personalities in Mindanao and Visayas poured in, including from avid listeners of his long-running radio commentary program, "Perspective."
In a statement, the city's 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez described Canoy as a leader, an intellectual giant, and a true federalist who inspired many generations of leaders including himself.
"Attorney Canoy served with utmost dedication and integrity as Mayor of our city; as assemblyman for Region 10 in the Interim Batasang Pambansa; and as Undersecretary of Public Information. He was a true Mindanaoan who loved our Island so much, and strongly advocated for the development of its true potential," Rodriguez said.
The lawmaker's sister, Cagayan de Oro Vice Mayor Jocelyn Rodriguez, said Canoy was "a statesman, a poet, and a writer who inspired many generations of Kagay-anon leaders. He served the people with utmost dignity, profound intellect, and unwavering compassion."
In a statement, Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy said Canoy may be famously remembered through his radio program's opening and closing spiel: "Ang lungsod nga nasayod maoy makahatag kusog sa demokrasya, apan ang lungsod nga mapasagaron maoy makapukan sa atong kagawasan."
(A well-informed citizenry strengthens democracy, but a passive one will destroy our freedom)
From Silliman to UP-Diliman
Creative writer and journalist Ian Rosales Casocot, who is based in Dumaguete City, extensively wrote about the life of Canoy in a Facebook post Wednesday.
Casocot wrote: "Born on the 6th of June 1929 in Cagayan de Oro City. He graduated with an AA degree from Silliman University in 1952, after spending his collegiate years in Dumaguete City pursuing literary life. He was a huge part of Silliman's post-World War II generation of writers who went on to great critical acclaim in the mid-1950s."
"After graduating with a law degree from UP (University of the Philippines), he dabbled in two different worlds: cinema and politics. In 1966, he was appointed Undersecretary for the Department of Public Information under the Presidency of Ferdinand E. Marcos," the writer said.
Canoy would later run and become mayor of this city from 1971 to 1976.
Outspoken martial law critic
Casocot also recalled that together with the former city mayor and Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., and former Misamis Oriental Governor Homobono Adaza, Canoy formed the Mindanao Alliance during the Marcos years.
The trio would later become known for being outspoken critics of martial law.
"Of the three, it was Canoy who first hogged the national limelight when he emerged as the lone opposition candidate in Northern Mindanao to win in the 1978 Batasan polls. In 1981, however, the three allies parted ways because of political differences, and Canoy would go on to form the Social Democratic Party of the Philippines with 14 members of various opposition groups," Casocot said.
In 1952, Canoy convinced his brother Henry to turn the once simple radio station in the city to become what is now known as the Radio Mindanao Network (RMN), which was later rebranded as Radyo Mo Nationwide.
He married Solona Torralba in 1953, who died in 2019. They were survived by four children-Rhona, Chet, Marc, and Don. (PNA)