Nora Aunor mourns loss of TV stalwart Kitchie Benedicto

Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2021 04:05 AM | Updated as of Aug 06 2021 09:45 AM

Screen icon Nora Aunor and veteran TV producer Kitchie Benedicto
Screen icon Nora Aunor and veteran TV producer Kitchie Benedicto. FILE/Facebook: Nora Aunor

MANILA — Amid the outpouring of grief on the recent passing of TV stalwart Kitchie Benedicto, one of her beloved wards, Nora Aunor, took a different path by asking forgiveness from her. 

“Marami akong pagkukulang sa kaniya. Saan man siya naroroon ngayon gusto kong humingi ng tawad,” Aunor said in a statement to ABS-CBN News Thursday night.

“Kasama siya sa aking mga dasal. Ayokong isipin na wala na siya. Gusto kong buhay siya sa aking alaala.” 

The veteran actress did not elaborate on her need for absolution from Benedicto, who succumbed Wednesday to a lingering illness according to family members and associates. She was 74.

For many years during and after the Martial Law period, Benedicto and Aunor were inextricably connected. One of the owners of Kanlaon Broadcasting System, Benedicto engineered the phenomenal rise of Aunor as the country’s premier TV star in the long-running weekly musical “Superstar” and the drama series “Ang Makulay na Daigdig ni Nora.” 

“Si Ate Kitchie ang isa din sa mga unang nagdirek ng mga programa ko na umere sa Channel 9,” recalled Aunor. “Twenty-two years tumagal ang ‘Superstar.’ Isa siya sa mga naging dahilan kung bakit tumagal nang mahabang panahon ang akin pong mga programa na minahal ng sambayanang Pilipino, tinangkilik ng mga advertiser at pinarangalan ng ibat-ibang award giving bodies.”

“Napaka dedicated ni Ma’am Kitchie sa kanyang trabaho. Masyado po siyang hands on para sa ikagaganda ng aming palabas.” 

Aunor also reminisced how Benedicto staged one of her biggest personal milestones. 

“Isa rin si Ate Kitchie sa mga sa mga saksi at promotor nang ikasal kami ni Christopher de Leon sa beach nila sa La Union. Naging ninang namin si Lupita Kashiwara dahil siya ang kasalukuyang direktor noon ng ‘Makulay na Daigdig,’ at tsaka si Ninang Charito Solis,” she said. 

More than her muse, Benedicto stood by Aunor in most of her personal crises. 

“Higit pa sa kaibigan ang turing ko sa kanya,” she related. “Alam na alam niya kung may problema ako, masaya, malungkot at may sakit. Siya rin ang kasama ko tuwing may problema kami noon ni Tirso (Cruz III, her screen partner). Napakalaki ng naitulong niya sa akin.” 

Even when Aunor left the Philippines for the United States at the turn of the century, Benedicto did not break her ties with the actress.

“Kahit na sa ibang bansa na ako, hindi pa rin siya huminto ng pagtulong sa akin. May she rest in peace at nawa’y magsilbing inspirasyon ang mga magagandang alaalang naiwan niya sa kanyang pamilya, mga nakatrabaho at mga kaibigan.” 

Following Benedicto’s cremation at Heritage Park Taguig Thursday, her family will finalize memorial arrangements for her this week.