Freeman Region

Reliving days with labor lawyer, journalist Menzon

Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros - The Freeman

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines —Retired Commissioner Aurelio D. Menzon of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) passed away on March 19, leaving behind a legacy of high accomplishments in the legal profession, journalism, government service and civic leadership.

Besides serving the NLRC, Menzon was once a director of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation, a member of the Leyte Provincial Board, then vice governor of Leyte, a lawyer of the labor sector in Eastern Visayas and the urban poor in Tacloban City.

Many Leyteños and Samareños also considered the death of Menzon a great loss to the Katig-uban han Samareños ha Leyte (KASALE), a civic organization that he founded to unite people from Samar who had been living in Leyte over the years, like himself who was a native of Lapinig town in Northern Samar.

During the nightly wake of Menzon in a funeral parlor in Tacloban City in the later part of March, former KASALE officers discussed on reviving the association that the prominent Samareño founded to become one of the respected civic organizations in Eastern Visayas.

Another notable Samareño, Engineer Dalmacio “Massey” Grafil, who is a publisher of the Tacloban-based Leyte Samar Daily Express (LSDE), the only daily newspaper in Eastern Visayas, reminisced the last time he had a talk with Menzon before the latter succumbed to a lingering illness. “His death is a great loss to the community, especially our KASALE, which he founded,” Massey said.

Massey—a director of the Leyte II Electric Cooperative and a member of the Regional Police Advisory Council representing the media—recalled further that he and Menzon talked of reactivating KASALE, which fell into a hiatus from activities when Menzon became an NLRC commissioner based in Cebu City.

In acknowledgment of Menzon’s urgings for the importance of KASALE revival, Massey conferred —during the wake—with other founding members such as Rebecca Ada, Naty Sia, Dan Tentativa and Lilian Estorninos to discuss on this final request of Menzon. They agreed to continue Menzon’s dream of uniting Samareños in Leyte.

Massey, whose wife Alma is a maternal distant relative of Menzon, said the distinguished Samareño was not only a good friend to him and his family, but was also his company lawyer who made LSDE win in a drug-related libel suit several years back in Calbayog City.

“He (Menzon) did not endeavour for anything besides the good of his fellow Samareño,” recounted Massey, who also remembered Menzon, as a private law practitioner, helped a Samareño win a labor case after being laid off from work in a lumber yard in Tacloban City.

Menzon was a law graduate of the University of the Philippines-Diliman and was admitted to the Bar in 1973. While serving as a lawyer, with offices in Tacloban, Menzon made use of his writing talent and speaking flair in joining the journalism field.

Menzon founded the Leyte Samar Journalists Association, published the weekly San Juanico Times (with regional circulation) and was a DyVL-MBC radio commentator.

Menzon also wrote a number of articles for a national broadsheet, where he batted for the election of a senator from Eastern Visayas, and in The Freeman and Philippine Star with tirades over government dole-outs for Yolanda survivors, and a feature citing Eastern Visayas personalities who succeeded in their respective fields in Cebu.

Radio broadcaster and former two-term Tacloban Councilor Neil Glova — who also mourned the loss of one of his favorite news sources —said: “Menzon (or ADM) was a mentor and a big brother to me in my stints as a broadcast personality and in my political career.”

As a legislator in the PB, Menzon’s major initiative, among others, was “to require the NPC to deploy a barge to Tacloban to solve the constant power outages during those times,” said Glova.

Glova—who now replaces Menzon in the latter’s Sunday morning program “Democracy in Action” over DyVL-MBC with mainstay co-host former DPWH secretary Vic Domingo, also a Samareño — added that “as a radioman, ADM always reminded me to keep a high standard of credibility and integrity. ADM told me to focus always on the plight and welfare of the urban poor sector.”

Menzon is survived by his wife Flordelis Menzon nee Balderian of Dagami, Leyte and four children: Local government physician Nathalie, Babatngon town Vice Mayor Winston, Tacloban barangay Councilman Michael, and computer engineer Bradford with daughter-in-law Leyte Provincial Prosecutor Jovill Menzon nee Del Pilar.

Flordelis herself is a former regional manager of Pag-IBIG office in Tacloban, incumbent director of Perpetual Help Credit Cooperative and a member of the board of regents of Leyte Normal University. — (FREEMAN)


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