Gabino Tabuñar Jr., 94

Photo from Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines’ Facebook video.

GABINO “GABY” TABUÑAR, Jr., veteran journalist and chairman emeritus of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP), passed away on Tuesday, February 4. He was 94.

In a statement published on its social media platforms, FOCAP said Tabuñar succumbed to pneumonia while in confinement at the Makati Medical Center. He received a final blessing from a priest and was with children in his last moments.

Mao Tabuñar-Cardenas, the eldest of Tabuñar’s five children, said of her father, “Even when he was in pain, he was very kind to the people who were taking care of him. He hardly complained – whatever pain he was feeling he kept to himself.”

Melinda Quintos de Jesus, CMFR executive director, recalls his gracious presence, standing tall above the rest who covered the rallies and “parliament of the streets” after 1983. “It was a privilege to have known him, a gentleman of the old school, he was always the best company. And it was even more fun when his lovely wife would join the many social occasions which were part of our work. It was a heady period to be working as a journalist. One could always sense the man’s gritty sense of things, the long experience honed the natural skills, sorting out the worthy sources and picking out the truth from everything that was going on.”

Tabuñar was a pharmaceutical company executive before becoming a Manila correspondent for CBS News. He and the late Teodoro “Teddy” Benigno, former bureau chief of Agence France Presse in Manila and press secretary of ex- president Corazon Aquino, founded the FOCAP in response to the curtailment of press freedom and civil liberties during the Marcos regime.

FOCAP remembers Tabuñar as “a true friend to many, a father and mentor to countless journalists, and most importantly, one of the founders of FOCAP, which continues to be a vanguard of press freedom to this day.”

Tabuñar’s wake is at the Loyola Guadalupe Presidential Suite starting Wednesday, February 5. His remains will be cremated on Saturday, February 8.