Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc called ‘prophet’ of ‘compassionate journalism’
MANILA, Philippines — Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc was a “prophet” whose brand of “compassionate journalism” steered the Philippine Daily Inquirer as the country’s top agenda-setter, Catholic priest Manny Gabriel said on Sunday.
Under the dusky afternoon sky, Fr. Gabriel officiated the requiem mass at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City attended by relatives, friends, colleagues and news sources of the highly respected INQUIRER editor-in-chief, who succumbed to cardiac arrest on Christmas eve.
In his homily, the Catholic priest paid tribute to Magsanoc, also known as LJM to her friends and co-workers, for her conviction as a journalist and the kind of journalism she espoused during the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship.
“To me, Letty’s contribution to Philippine history is that she guided the Inquirer … during those years when people have to be reminded of where we came from,” Gabriel said.
“I like to believe that the charism of Letty as a person and as a believer lies in that capacity to discern as a prophet,” he continued.
Gabriel, whose friendship with LJM started when he was still the parish priest of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, in 1977, noted that the INQUIRER’s origin was in the “context of martial law.”
“Its (INQUIRER) authentic mission as a prophet is to remind humanity and our people today that somehow we have to be working for a just and humane society and no other system should repress our rights as a people, and for us to build a society based on justice and love,” he said.
He said Magsanoc’s work as editor of Mr. and Ms., the precursor of the INQUIRER, influenced many young political activists in the fight against the iron-hand rule of then President Ferdinand Marcos.
He said the articles published by Mr. and Ms. “guided a lot of political activist in UP” and captured the “insights that are generated from the experience of oppression that time.”
“I took a woman of courage like Letty to put everything right there in the open,” the monsignor said.
Gabriel said Magsanoc’s “creativity, fearlessness and sense of compassion” helped create what he described as the INQUIRER’s compassionate journalism.
National artist for literature F. Sionil Jose said he came to know Magsanoc through her father, the late Ambassador Nicanor Jimenez.
“She’s an activist (that’s why) she was always a fighter. She had a great courage and integrity like her father,” he said.
Former Gilas coach Chot Reyes, whose wife Cherry is a close friend of Magsanoc’s daughter Kara, said he always regarded the late INQUIRER boss as a brave woman.
“She was a bedrock of journalism. Everyone knows what she did for her field (of profession),” Reyes said. “And I like her philosophy of having fun in what she’s doing.” SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.