Philip Palacio Succumbs to Cancer, Tumor at 42
Rising attorney Philip Palacio passed suddenly following a mostly private battle with cancer and a brain tumor, for which he was undergoing surgery in the United States. He started out in journalism but subsequently went to law school and returned as an advocate for the poorer classes, taking on several cause celebres. His last major public appearance was in November with senior Derek Courtenay, representing Auditor General Dorothy Bradley at the first public hearing of the Senate Special Select Committee. He also found time to be active in politics, running unsuccessfully against Mesopotamia area representative Michael Finnegan in the 2012 general elections. We spoke to one of Palacio’s colleagues, Bryan Neal, who remembered him as always generous and quietly brilliant.
Bryan Neal, Former Classmate/Colleague
“I did my L.L.B. with Mr. Palacio; hearing that news this morning really, really shattered my day. I want to say condolences to his children that he used to talk about so fondly and his wife Annie; and just hope that through prayers and through God we can get over something so painful as the loss of such a colleague as Phil; he was a really upstanding man.”
“Sir, are you able to share with us how long he had been battling illness?”
‘He shared with me just recently – he used to complain of headaches - but just recently I Whatsapped him when he was in the hospital and he was telling me that he had some health issues, some cancer that had spread and he was – the words he used was, ‘This is all-out war,’ were the words he used in the text that he sent to me, and it was a shock that he lost the war that he has waged against cancer.”
“Would you be able to share with us any anecdotes of his contribution to law in Belize and his profession?”
“He worked at the Attorney General’s Ministry, Phil worked at the Legal Aid Center; and he had recently gone into private practice with Mister Derek Courtenay; and he was doing quite well in his profession. I can say, having went to school with him and being involved with him, I used to rely on him for advice many times. Brilliant guy, gone far too early.”
Palacio is survived by his wife Annie and their children. Philip Palacio, dead at age forty-two.