Rest in peace, Sir Jerry

READER’S VIEWS - The Freeman

The name Jerry Tundag is familiar to me since the time I started reading The FREEMAN newspaper way back in the ‘80s. But before he became a member of The FREEMAN family, he used to work first as a news reporter of "The Visayan Herald" newspaper under then managing editor Cerge Remonde.

However, the newspaper experienced a decline in circulation following the downfall of the Marcos regime in 1986. It was acquired and revived by The FREEMAN in 1987 until it folded up for good and ceased circulating.

Sir Jerry found his new home in The FREEMAN, as a news reporter, editor-in-chief, and a publisher until his retirement in 2018. But his passion for writing showed no signs of slowing down as he continued to have his column with The FREEMAN carrying the head title "To The Quick" until he passed away last December 8 this year at the age of 70.

I would say that his writing style as a columnist when commenting on sensitive issues of national interest was beyond compare, in particular, the change of year in celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Christianization of the Philippines. History had it that Ferdinand Magellan, along with Augustinian priest Pedro de Valderrama, arrived in Cebu in 1521, and then baptized and Christianized some 800 natives including Rajah Humabon and his wife.

But the Philippines had not been fully Christianized after the conversion of the Cebuano natives to Catholicism in 1521. It was not until Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived in Cebu in 1565 that the Philippines was fully Christianized. Cebu, then, became the cradle of Christianity in the far east.

Sans any intent to underestimate the wisdom, knowledge, and know-how of the high-ranking Catholic Church officials, Sir Jerry hinted that some bigwigs of the Catholic Church of Imperial Manila may have initiated the move to change and/or revise the historical facts about Christianity in our country. It could be that these influential Catholic Church officials wanted to make the celebration earlier (2021) rather than in (2065) when many of them will have been gone for sure, while others may be physically too weak to participate in the quincentennial celebration.

When Sir Jerry mentioned this in his column not one of his contemporaries in the print media ever dared criticize him nor any one of them wanted to belittle his own analysis about the issue. There is no doubt he was one of Cebu's influential and respected print media personalities whose intelligence, prudence, and tactfulness in the pursuit of his journalistic profession could not be subjected to meticulous scrutiny.

And never, never it happened that Sir Jerry had been slapped with a libel suit from anyone who got offended by the hard-hitting comments in his column.

Sticking to his own principle in life without maligning one's right to speak out, Sir Jerry lambasted those whom he thought of as having a hidden agenda in twisting/changing the historical facts of the beginning of Christianity in the Philippines.

You may call him a hard-hitting columnist when commenting on a particular issue, but he was mindful of what he did. Sir Jeremias "Jerry" Suico Tundag was a fearless journalist who meant what he wrote; he had his own story to tell when it was time for him to speak out.

Up to and until the very day when he breathed his last, Jeremias "Jerry" Suico Tundag was a columnist, a prolific writer, engaged in a journalistic kind of work which he so dearly loved. Rest in peace, Sir Jerry.

Joselito S. Berdin

Lapu-Lapu City

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