My swan song
This is my swan song in the Inquirer.
The Inquirer’s policy is that once its editor, reporter or columnist is appointed to a government position, he’s automatically out.
I’m also automatically out of Bandera as a columnist since the tabloid is the Inquirer’s sister publication.
I have mixed feelings of sadness and excitement in leaving the Inquirer.
Sad, because I’m leaving the paper for which I’ve been a columnist for 31 years.
Excited, because of the new challenges awaiting me in my new job as special envoy to China.
I’ve spent the biggest chunk of my journalism career—48 years—as a columnist for the Inquirer.
My stint in this paper, adjudged as having the highest circulation in the country, has been full of excitement.
Every time I wrote my column a day before publication was an exciting day.
I came to the Inquirer upon the invitation of Louie Beltran, then its executive editor, in 1987.
I have become battle-scarred, so to speak, writing for this paper with all the libel cases filed against me by people hurt by my column.
I was jailed twice in 1998—at the Olongapo City jail and Bataan Provincial jail—after I refused to divulge the sources of information that placed the Olongapo judge and the judge in Dinalupihan, Bataan, in a bad light.
I’ve incurred so many times libel suits—so many I can no longer count—making me the “best-dressed journalist” in the country.
Most of the libel cases have been dropped for reasons that I was never motivated by malice in writing about the persons or entities affected.
I would like to thank the Inquirer publishers and editors, past and present, for sticking with me during trying times, especially that time when then first gentleman Mike Arroyo was harassing me and filing all sorts of libel and other criminal cases against me.
My eternal gratitude goes to the late lawyer Tomas del Castillo, the paper’s legal counsel, who defended me in many cases and won all of them.
A few of my libel cases went all the way to the Court of Appeals for which I was eventually acquitted, thanks to Tom.
My gratitude also goes to lawyers Pedro Carbonnel and Fortunato Pagdanganan, also the Inquirer’s legal counsel, who continue to defend me in my pending libel cases.
My heart goes to Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, the paper’s editor in chief until her untimely demise on Dec. 24, 2015, who shielded me from office intrigues.
Letty was, to me, the best editor in chief of this paper.
Finally, I thank my countless readers for their trust in me.
As a parting shot, I am not leaving you because I will continue to serve you as host of “Isumbong mo kay Tulfo,” a daily public service program at dzRP (738 khz on the AM band).
I will continue as a commentator at dzRP.
You can still follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
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