Veteran broadcaster Mike Enriquez dies at 71
Updated 10:00 P.M. of Aug. 29, 12:28 P.M of Aug. 30
MANILA, Philippines — Veteran broadcaster and host Mike Enriquez has died at the age of 71, according to a report on “24 Oras,” a program on GMA News where he was news anchor for almost two decades.
Miguel “Mike” Castro Enriquez would have turned 72 on Sept. 29, exactly a month after his death. He is survived by his wife Lizabeth “Babes” Yumping.
No cause of death was mentioned in the newscast, or in the statement posted by the network on its social media accounts.
A distinguished television and radio newscaster, Enriquez stood as one of the pillars of GMA News. He is renowned as one of the anchors of the media giant’s flagship news program “24 Oras,” and he also hosted the investigative docudrama show “Imbestigador.”
From coverage of elections, disasters, and other historical events, to crime-busting exposés, Enriquez became the voice of the ordinary people’s quest for justice or an accounting with government.
Apart from being a multi-awarded TV journalist, Enriquez was also the head of GMA’s radio operations with supervision over dzBB, before becoming its consultant when he stepped down after retirement.
Often referred to as “Booma” within inner media circles, Enriquez popularized the expressions “Excuse me po,” “Hindi namin kayo tatantanan,” “Naloko na!” and “Pasok!” such that these have evolved into distinctive trademarks of the former radio disc jockey named “Baby Michael.”
A graduate of De La Salle University, the media veteran also became a professor for broadcast management in the same university.
As “24 Oras” co-anchor Mel Tiangco was announcing Enriquez’s death on the program, her voice cracked as she struggled to contain her tears.
“Malungkot pong ibinabalita ng GMA Network ang pagpanaw ng aming minamahal na Kapuso at kaibigan, si Mike Enriquez,” she said as she paused to compose herself. “Si Mike po ay halos dalawang dekada natin nakasama gabi-gabi dito sa ’24 Oras’… Mahigit 50 taon nang buong-pusong naglilingkod sa mga manonood at tagapakinig si Mike, na nagsimula sa industriya nung 1969, at naging bahagi ng GMA Network noong 1995.”
Tiangco said the network’s board of directors, management and workforce deeply mourn his passing, but his dedication “will serve as an inspiration to all.”
After showing a video tribute for Enriquez, Tiangco led her co-anchors Vicky Morales and Emil Sumangil to applaud Enriquez. “Alam niyo, gusto kong palakpakan si Mike. Galing talaga!”
As Morales was speaking her closing lines, she also broke into tears and covered her face with a sheaf of papers.
Victim of death hoaxes
Enriquez has long been a victim of death rumors on social media, a recurrent thing since hospitalization in December 2021 to undergo kidney transplant.
In November 2022, fellow Kapuso broadcaster Arnold Clavio, who was his co-anchor on “Saksi sa Double B,” felt compelled to dispel death rumors hounding Enriquez following his prolonged absence from “24 Oras,” as well as in their radio program on dzBB.
This after veteran actress Lollie Mara and singer Richard Merk sent their condolences on Facebook over Enriquez’s supposed death. They immediately deleted their posts after they were told of Enriquez’s condition, and immediately apologized for the “confusion.”
Clavio then said that he was able to talk to “Ama,” referring to Enriquez, who he said was chirpy and very much alive during their conversation.
“Mga minamahal, nakausap ko po si Ama, Mr. Mike Enriquez. Buhay na buhay at ang kanyang mensahe: ‘Fake news!’ (My beloved, I already talked to Father, Mr. Mike Enriquez. He is very much alive and his message is: ‘Fake news!’),” Clavio said in his Facebook post.
In a separate interview in November 2022, Tiangco said that she had long wanted to ask him about his health condition but she couldn’t bring herself to do it.
“Nahihiya akong tumawag, but I really want to. He might think, ‘Ano ba ‘to, pati ako tsini-tsismis.’ And I might only get sad if he says he’s not so well,” she said.
After undergoing a kidney transplant last year, Enriquez returned on air in March 2022 in time for the coverage of the 2022 national elections. Several weeks later, the veteran broadcaster went back on medical leave.
Aside from his kidney transplant, Enriquez also underwent a heart bypass procedure in 2018.
His family has not disclosed details about the wake, as of writing. EDV