Amando Doronila, 95

Photo of Amando Doronila from Pablo Tariman on Facebook

AMANDO “DORO” Doronila, veteran journalist and renowned political columnist, died due to complications from pneumonia on Friday, July 7, 2023 in Australia. He was 95. 

His passing was confirmed to the media by his son, Agustin and daughter, Maria Lourdes.  

After a drop in his oxygen levels on July 6, Doronila was brought to Calvary Hospital from the nursing home in Canberra where he had been receiving care since 2020. According to the Manila Times, his family said Doronila passed away “serenely” with family members present. 

Journalist and author’s obituary noted that Doronila was introduced to journalism at the University the East in Manila where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1953  and edited the campus publication, The Dawn. 

Doronila started his professional career as a reporter and columnist for the Manila Bulletin in 1960s. He wrote on politics as a columnist for the Daily Mirror from 1963 to 1972. 

Vergel O. Santos, journalist and CMFR trustee, recalled in a Rappler obituary that he met Doronila pre-Martial Law, when Doronila was the editor-in-chief of and Santos a copy editor at the Manila Chronicle. Under Doronila’s leadership, the Chronicle resisted mounting political pressure and remained a vocal critic of the Marcos administration. Upon the declaration of Martial Law, the publication was closed down and Doronila was detained along with other journalists. 

After his release in 1975, Doronila left the country and settled with his family in Melbourne, Australia where he worked for the daily newspaper, The Age. He returned to the Philippines in time to report on the political events leading to the fall of the Marcos regime in February 1986. 

Doronila then began writing “News Analysis” for the Manila Times. In 1985, Doronila “revived” the Manila Chronicle as editor with Santos as his executive editor, but the paper stopped publication in 1998. In 2001, his serial reports on the ouster of President Joseph Estrada in January made it on the front pages of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The same newspaper would keep Doronila’s regular column “Analysis” on its front page from 1994 to 2016 when Doronila retired, rejoining his family in Australia. 

Doronila authored several books, including “The State, Economic Transformation, and Political Change in the Philippines, 1946-1972” published in 1991 by Oxford University Press. In 2008, the 28th National Book Awards recognized his “Afro-Asia in Upheaval: A Memoir of Front-line Reporting.” Doronila’s memoir, “Doro: Behind the Byline.” was launched in Canberra in February 2023. 

Doronila also taught journalism part-time at the University of the Philippines. He was often called to guest and speak on current issues in various television talk shows and conferences. Highly placed sources opened doors to the journalist, recognizing his integrity and fairness. 

Doronila’s steadfast dedication to the craft and his independence earned him the respect and admiration of his contemporaries and those he mentored as editor. 

A man of many interests 

Doronila tried his hand growing coffee, building a charming farm house in Tagaytay where he invited friends and colleagues on weekends. CMFR executive director, Melinda de Jesus recalls a Sunday lunch he prepared himself, roast chicken, a green salad with bread he had bought from a favorite restaurant in Makati. Obviously, he relished these pleasures, enjoying coffee and conversation amidst his fruit trees. 

CMFR rented his townhouse next to where he and his wife, Lulu, lived in Metro Manila. De Jesus remembers a friendly landlord attentive to matters of repair and upkeep, the experience revealing another facet of his personality and the countless points of interest apart from journalism. 

A requiem mass will be held on July 14, to coincide with the fourth death anniversary of Doronila’s wife, Lourdes Silverio Doronila. The family also announced plans to bring the remains of the Doronila couple back to the Philippines, as Doro had expressed wishes to be interred in the town of his birth, Dumangas, Iloilo. 

Doronila was born on February 6, 1928 in Dumangas, Iloilo to Arsenio Doronila and Marcelina Ermitano. 
From GMA News Online: Doronila is survived by his children, Augustine, Maria Lourdes, Andrew; his grandchildren, Katie and Ben Humphries; and his great-granddaughter, Maci Morris.