Inquirer editor in chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc dies

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Veteran journalist Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, editor in chief of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), is dead, the newspaper announced late Thursday night, December 24. She was 74.

"It is with deep sorrow that the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports the death of its esteemed editor in chief," the paper said in a statement. The paper said she died at St Luke's Medical Center Global City.

"The country has lost a bedrock of journalism. And we, the Inquirer family and her family in the profession, feel the incalculable loss of a well-loved leader, a mentor, a friend," the PDI added.

According to the Inquirer, the wake for Magsanoc will be held at the Aeternum at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City starting Sunday, December 27.

Magsanoc's career spans several decades, starting in the late 1960s, when she started working for the Manila Bulletin. She became editor of the Philippine Panorama (1976-1981), Mr & Ms Special Edition (1983-1986), the Sunday Inquirer Magazine (1986-1987), and then the Inquirer.

Magsanoc's forced resignation as editor in chief of Panorama under the Marcos regime was one of the key moments in the anti-Marcos movement in the 1980s. She was asked to resign after writing an article critical of the government. Panorama, the Sunday magazine of the Bulletin, was then owned by Hans Menzi and part of the establishment press at the time.

She would later help found the Inquirer, and eventually become its editor in chief beginning 1991.

Under Magsanoc, Inquirer stood up to the Estrada regime when its allies spearheaded an advertising boycott of the newspaper in 2000. Inquirer refused to bow down to pressures to tone down on its exposés against then president Joseph Estrada, who was eventually ousted in a military-backed revolt in January 2001.

In a statement, Malacañang paid tribute to Jimenez for being a "freedom fighter."

"We join the Philippine Daily Inquirer and all Filipino journalists in mourning the passing of Letty Jimenez Magsanoc. She was in every sense of the word, a freedom fighter, wielding her pen against the dictatorship, and any and all who would oppress and betray the Filipino people, on whose behalf she was a fearless crusader for democracy, accountability, and honesty," said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. 

"We hope that her family's deep sadness at this time will be at least partially assuaged, by the deep admiration her peers and reading public felt for her. She writes 30 having been, up to the end, a force for good in our society, a truth-teller to the nation and mentor to so many in her field," Lacierda added. Rappler.com