R.I.P. : Edith Merced Nakpil-Rabat

MERCED Edith Nakpil-Rabat, the grand dame of Mati, Davao Oriental, passed away Wednesday afternoon after fighting with cancer for the past years.

Edith Rabat, or Madam Edith to many of her constituents, died at 4:10 p.m. at the Cardinal Santos Hospital in Manila, she was 74.

Crowned Miss Philippines in 1955, Edith married the erstwhile Rajah of Rebound in basketball, Francisco Garcia Rabat, who later on became the governor of the province of Davao Oriental in the 70's to 80's.

Edith herself was into politics as she was member of the Second Batasang Pambansa in 1984 until it was abolished by President Corazon Aquino when she came to power in 1986. She was one of the closest friends of then First Lady Imelda Marcos.

She was also head of the International Child Development Foundation which aims to prevent child exploitation and drug addiction back in 1987 and was mentioned in two books -- Gender and Power in Affluent Asia (New Rich in Asia) by Krishna Sen, and Women, Power, and Kinship Politics by Mina Roces. The said books talk about the most powerful women in Asia and the Philippines.

She was the daughter of Anita Noble, Miss Philippines of 1926, and Juan Nakpil, National Artist for architecture. Her grandfather was Julio Nakpil, composer of the National Anthem, who was married to Andres Bonifacio's widow, Gregoria de Jesus.

Edith's sister, Anita, is meanwhile married to Renato Tañada, the son of former Senator Lorenzo Tañada.

Flags in Mati are at half mast. She is mourned by the great majority of Matinians who look up to her as an exemplar of service. Her steadfast love for Mati and its people endeared her to everyone. She leaves a lasting contribution to Mati -- to its people, to its culture and arts, to its progress and development.

Edith is survived by children Louie, Jay, Miko, Michelle and Erick.

She was cremated after her death and her remains now lie in state at the Sanctuario de San Jose in Greenhills. On August 31, she will be brought to her residence in Dahican, Mati. Burial date was not yet confirmed as of Thursday. < (BOT)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 28, 2009.