Ismael Mathay Jr., who served for three terms as mayor of Quezon City, died of a heart attack on Christmas Day. He was 81.
Mathay’s younger brother, Simplicio, said the former mayor was rushed to the Medical City and declared dead at around 9 a.m.
Before he was became mayor, Mathay was the long-standing Metro Manila vice governor and chief of the Metro Manila Commission, the forerunner of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
He also represented the fourth district of Quezon City in the House of Representatives from 1987 to 1992.
Mathay, who was born on June 26, 1932, was known to be mild-mannered and soft-spoken.
Mayor Herbert Bautista of Quezon City, who served as Mathay’s vice mayor, said “Mel was one of the pillars of QC’s development.”
Bautista said Mathay left a legacy as an “education mayor” by establishing a better education system.
Mathay was mayor from May 11,1992 to June 30, 2001, during which big urban enclaves were developed, notably Eastwood and the SM developments.
His successor in 2001, now Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, said Mathay contributed much to the city’s progress.
“He has a place in QC history. He made his contribution to its development,” Belmonte told The Manila Times.
Belmonte and Bautista were guests at the last public appearance of Mathay when he married his longtime partner, Vilma Valera, in February this year at the Christ the King Church in Greenmeadows, where his wake will also be held.
Bong Suntay, the majority floor leader of the Quezon City council, credited Mathay for giving him his first break in politics.
“Mayor Mathay was a good man. He was kind-hearted and a gentle person who led the people of Quezon City like a father to his children. He gave me a break in QC politics. He touched me and countless others, who will all surely pray and miss him,” Suntay said.