MANILA, Philippines – Mourners have started paying their respects to veteran broadcast journalist Angelo Castro, Jr. following his death on Maundy Thursday from lung cancer.
Among those who attended the wake at the Castros' residence in Quezon City on Good Friday and Black Saturday were President Aquino and Castro’s colleagues in ABS-CBN, including Tina Monzon-Palma and "Bandila" anchor Julius Babao.
Aquino was at the wake on Good Friday. He stayed for a long time and chatted with Castro's wife June Keithley and the rest of the Castro family.
Aquino talked about the contributions of the respected broadcast journalist, citing the work Angelo did in informing the people about the restoration of democracy after the EDSA revolution in 1986, which brought down the Marcos dictatorship.
“Napaka-central figure niya noong panahon ng EDSA lalo na, kung saan nakaramdam tayo ng pagkakamit ng tunay na impormasyon,” Aquino said.
Monzon-Palma went straight to the wake after a brief retreat in Subic on Thursday. She said she would never forget how his "The World Tonight" co-anchor loved his job so much.
'The love of her life'
Keithley, who is also battling cancer, told reporters Angelo had bravely accepted the fact that he would soon die. She also talked about "the love" of her life.
“I cried of course, because my article on Sunday is about the love of my life, who really always was the love of my life. No matter what happens, he’s the love of my life,” Keithley said.
Castro's son, Diego, said his father died peacefully, and that he had asked him to do many things before he passed away.
“He was saying things like taking care of the family, asking for forgiveness, ‘I love you's,’ and most of the discussions were done in writing, because he couldn’t talk anymore because the water was already building up,” Diego said.
Despite his failing health, Diego said his father still managed to tell jokes.
“No matter how sick he’d get, he’d always [say he's] more handsome than me,” Diego said.
Working from home, resting in peace
ABS-CBN Regional Network Group head Charie Villa recalled the time she and other ABS-CBN staff had to work in the Castros' home during the 1989 coup attempt, which nearly topped the government of then-President Corazon Aquino.
“We made this house into our newsroom noong December 1989 coup, and I was telling June how Angelo and her would deploy us. She [Keithley] would be like our mom, she’d give us prayers. She gave me a rosary in my vest,” she said.
On Sunday, the Upsilon Fraternity, of which Castro was a member, will hold a necrological service for Castro.
On Tuesday, his remains will be brought to the ABS-CBN Chapel where a mass will be celebrated.
His wake will end on Wednesday at the Castros' residence.
Castro's remains will be placed at a fountain in his house, where he always rested and prayed the rosary after falling ill. -- from a report by Gretchen Malalad, ABS-CBN News