Thursday, December 19, 2019

Benguet Congressman Nestor Fongwan Has Passed Away. He Was 68 Years Old.

Nestor Bagtang Fongwan Sr., a long-time fixture in Benguet politics has passed away on Wednesday night (December 18). He was 68 years old. Cause of death hasn't been divulged but there are reports saying it was due to an illness. He is survived by his wife Priscilla and their five children: Marie Rose, Nestor Jr., Marilyn, Maria Theresa, and Marson. His remains will be brought home to Puguis, La Trinidad. A wake that is open for the public is also reportedly scheduled to be held at the Provincial Capitol.

Prior to dipping his feet on the local political scene, Fongwan worked at the Benguet Provincial Auditor's Office. In 1988, he ran and won as a councilor in La Trinidad. He went on to serve as vice-mayor, mayor, governor, then congressman. He was known among his friends, colleagues, and supporters as the "Action Man", a moniker that stuck with him through the years.

At the time of his passing, Fongwan was serving as vice-chair in three committees in Congress: Agrarian Reform, Natural Resources, and Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples. He was the principal author in twenty-one (21) House measures and co-author in thirteen (13) House measures.

Here's what the "Rules of the House of Representatives" say about the process of filling up a vacancy in Congress that was opened due to a member's untimely death:

"In case a Member dies, resigns, is permanently incapacitated or lawfully barred from performing the duties of a Member, or is lawfully removed from office, vacancies may be filled as follows: (a) for vacancies in the representation of legislative districts, special elections may be called to fill the vacancies; and (b) for vacancies in the representation of party-lists, party-list representatives may be chosen to fill the vacancies in the manner provided by law. A Member elected or designated to fill a vacancy shall serve only for the duration of the unexpired term."