BINALBAGAN, Negros Occidental -- Grace Ibuna, the long time partner of the late Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr., said the congressman was her knight in shining armor and he loved her totally.
Ibuna, who had been living with the congressman since 2005, said “I miss him everyday, everything about him, he was a good man…We loved each other very much.”
She described the congressman as her best friend, partner, ardent supporter, worst critic, best fan and soulmate, adding that they brought the best out of each other.
The congressman died in London on January 26 after a long battle with cirrhosis of the liver.
She said the congressman was getting better and they were booked to make a pilgrimage to Rome to say thank you, when he suddenly died.
“He just slipped away without saying anything, I don’t think he had the courage to say goodbye,” she said.
“This is truly a humbling experience for me, it is a test of faith,” she said.
She said that when they were in London the congressman found his spiritual life and she never saw him so joyful. He said that after his term as congressman he would like to serve God, Ibuna added.
“He found his joy in knowing the Lord as his personal God and savior,” she said.
Ibuna said “We thought he would live because he promised he would go around and testify for the glory of God that he was healed. I really thought he was being healed physically but it just dawned upon me that he was being healed spiritually.”
“Perhaps it was I who was being selfish because I did not want to let him go, I told him to fight for his life… everyday with him was a happy moment. He was my knight in shining armor and he loved me totally,” Ibuna said.
“It is so hard to get over someone like Iggy,” she said
Ibuna said she is very close to Arroyo’s daughters Bianca and Dina. “We made a pact that we will stay together to keep Iggy’s memory alive and Iggy made that clear in his last will and testament,” she said, but refused to discuss details.
“His purpose was to keep us all together and I will. I sincerely love his children and I will take care of them,” she said.
Ibuna said “Iggy loved his brother (Mike) very much up to death. All those whom Iggy loved, I love, too.”
“My life plan was to grow old with Iggy, I have not thought of how my future will be, I’m not over him yet,” she said.
“He is always in my heart, that is good enough,” she said.
Ibuna said while she lives in Manila she will continue to return to Negros because she promised the congressman that she will see to the completion of projects he had started.
She would like to keep the congressman’s legacy alive through an Ignacio Arroyo Jr. Foundation that she plans to establish, Ibuna said.
She thanked the people of the fifth district for all the love and trust they gave to the congressman.*CPG