Condolences, including that from President Benigno Aquino lll, started to pour in for a candidate for councilor in Bacolod City who succumbed to a gunshot wound on his head at his house in Fortuna Subdivision, Silay City, Negros Occidental, Saturday morning.
Police blamed accidental firing as the cause of the death of businessman Andres “Andy” Leonardia, 62, the elder brother of Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who had filed his certificate of candidacy for councilor under the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Grupo Progreso, last year.
One of the original incorporators of the Visayan DAILY STAR, Andy Leonardia was a former vice president, and the treasurer of the STAR Board of Directors at the time of his death. He had also served as managing director and columnist of the STAR.
CALL FROM PNOY
Mayor Leonardia said the President told him over the phone "You are a friend. Your loss is also my loss."
The President personally called up the Mayor after being informed of the incident and also talked to Carlo Lacson Leonardia, the eldest son ofAndres Leonardia, expressing his deep sympathy to the family Saturday afternoon.
According to the Mayor, the President told him that he sympathizes with their family and that it was indeed a difficult time for them.
The President repeated twice “If there is anything we can do, just give me a call,” Mayor Leonardia said. He told the President “Your call is more than enough,” he said.
Carlo Leonardia said he was thankful that President Aquino extended his sympathies to them personally and was overwhelmed by it.
The phone call of President Aquino was facilitated by Rep. Albee Bantug Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District), who informed them that Aquino was asking for Mayor Leonardia’s phone number.
The Mayor said his brother was an ex-seminarian.
Supt. Rosauro Francisco, Silay police chief, yesterday said that Andy Leonardia, succumbed to a gunshot wound in the head.
Francisco said, Leonardia may have been cleaning or checking his .45 caliber pistol inside his room, when it accidentally fired. He, however, added that the Scene of the Crime Operatives of the police have yet to release their final investigation report on the incident.
Before the incident, Francisco said, the victim reportedly withdrew cash from a bank ATM machine and ate his breakfast at his son Carlo’s house nearby, before going home where he went inside his room. Ten minutes later, while the victim’s daughter, Kit Kat, and the family driver, Rey, were talking, a gunshot was heard, police investigations also showed.
Francisco said the incident, which took place at about 9:35 a.m. Saturday, was reported to the Silay police about 15 minutes later.
He initially ruled out foul play on the incident .
Police probers recovered a .45 caliber pistol and an empty shell at the scene.
Meanwhile, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas also expressed his condolences to the family of Mayor Leonardia for the demise of his brother.
Roxas, in his text message to Leonardia said "Korina and I just landed and heard the sad tragic news. I am so sorry for your loss. Having lost my brother, I know how you feel. Our sympathies are with you and your family. Halong gid pirme (always take care)."
Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson said they condole with the Leonardia family.
He said they consider Andy Leonardia a senior member of Grupo Progreso and that with all his experiences in the business sector, he could have been a very good asset for Grupo Progreso and the city government.
A loyalty graduate of the La Consolacion College High School Department, Leonardia acquired his Bachelor of Science in Commerce degree, cum laude, from the then La Salle College where he was a Leadership awardee.
He also attended the Ateneo de Manila University Graduate School of Business Management Development Program on a scholarship grant, and the Asian Institute of Management Basic Management Program, also on a scholarship. He also attended various trainings and study tours through grants from the USA, Australia, and other Asian countries.
Andy Leonardia had been national president of the APEX Clubs of the Philippines and a lifetime member of the YMCA.
Sayson said the last time they were together was last December 30 during a gift-giving activity at the Bacolod jail.
Joseph Tuvilla, Executive Assistant to Negros 0ccidental Gov. Joseph Marañon, offered a song for Andy.
“Your siblings call you their pride, for you have excelled in academics and in your endeavors. I call you the citizen’s pride, for you have endeared yourself to the people by your down-to-earth ways. Your are the politician’s politician. Thank you for your life lived well, Tuvilla wrote.
Leonardia served as general manager of the VMC Rural Electric Service Cooperative from 1991 to 1998, where he was credited for transforming VRESCO from a Class C to Class A electric cooperative, in less than a year.
Leonardia’s remains were cremated Saturday night after a mass at the Acropolis Crematorium in Bacolod City.
His interment is scheduled tomorrow at the Silay City Catholic Cemetery, near his wife, Meg.*CGS/GPB