Former Cavite Governor Erineo “Ayong” Saquilayan Maliksi has died, his son, Imus Mayor Emmanuel, announced on his Facebook post Wednesday night.

No cause of death has been released yet. The former governor was 82.

Born on March 25, 1938 in Imus, Ayong’s long public service in Cavite started in 1980 when he was elected vice mayor then later as mayor of his hometown Imus. In 1998, he was elected congressman to represent the second district of the province. He ran an uphill gubernatorial race against then-incumbent governor Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr. in 2001. Despite the odds, Ayong won and served three consecutive terms as governor from 2001 to 2010. Barred from running a fourth consecutive term as governor, he ran and was re-elected to his old congressional post in 2010. In 2013, he ran for the gubernatorial post against incumbent Jonvic Remulla, who was his running mate and eventual vice governor in the 2001 and 2004 elections.

Ayong lost the elections by 50,000 votes.

Pres. Noynoy Aquino appointed him chairman of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office serving in that capacity from April 2015 to August 2016.

His son said his father molded him to become a leader.

“Higit sa pagiging isang serbisyo-publiko, ay ang iyong pagiging isang mapagmahal at mapagkalingang ama sa amin. Maraming salamat sa iyong pagmamahal at mga aral na patuloy naming babaunin,” Emmanuel said.

“Ikaw ang naghubog sa akin bilang isang lider na hindi tumatalikod sa tungkulin. Mula sa aking pagkabata, magpasa hanggang ngayon ay patuloy kong sinusundan ang mga yapak mo,” he added.

“Ipinamalas mo hindi lamang sa buong bansa, kundi na rin sa buong mundo ang puso ng isang Imuseño, at kagitingan ng tunay na Kabiteño. Alam ko, at ramdam kong nariyan ka at patuloy na gagabay sa amin. Mula noon, hanggang ngayon,” Emmanuel said.
Condolences poured in from local Cavite officials soon after learning of the former governor’s demise.

The official Facebook page of the House of Representatives sent its “prayers and heartfelt sympathies to the family and loved ones he has left behind.”

Cavite 5th district congresswoman Dahlia Loyola thanked the elder Maliksi, who she considers a “father” for molding her and her husband, Carmona Mayor Roy Loyola, on how to be an effective leader.

“Kami ni Mayor Roy ay nakikidalamhati sa pagpanaw ng aming itinuturing na ama, Erineo “Ayong” S. Maliksi,” she said.

“Maraming salamat sa pagiging malaking bahagi sa paghubog sa aming mag-asawa upang maging isang mahusay na lider. Habangbuhay naming babaunin ang iyong mga pangaral at alaala. Rest in peace Gov. Ayong,” she added.

Kawit Mayor Angelo Aguinaldo thanked the former governor for his service to the province.

“Taos-puso po akong nakikiramay sa pamilya, mga kaibigan, at sa lahat ng nagdalamhati sa pagkawala ng ating dating Gov. Erineo ‘Ayong’ Maliksi. Nakalulungkot po ang biglaang pagkawala ni Gov. Ayong lalo na sa panahon ngayong mas marami tayong hinaharap na pasanin,” he said.

“Ipagdasal po natin siya at ang kanyang pamilya. Rest in peace, Gov. Ayong. Maraming salamat sa paggabay mo sa ating lalawigan, hindi ka namin malilimutan,” Aguinaldo added.

Ayong is survived by his wife Olivia, son Manny, daughter-in-law Jerly, and his grandsons. – Rommel F. Lopez