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Veteran newscaster Mike Enriquez passes away at 71

By Melanie Uson Published Aug 29, 2023 7:56 pm Updated Aug 29, 2023 9:45 pm

Television and radio newscaster Mike Enriquez has passed away. He was 71. 

His colleague Mel Tiangco held back tears as she reported about his death on 24 Oras on Tuesday, Aug. 29. "Malungkot pong ibinabalita ng GMA Network ang pagpanaw ng aming minamahal na Kapuso't kaibigan—si Mike Enriquez," she said before reading GMA Network's official statement on his passing.

"It is with profound sadness that GMA Network announces the passing of our beloved Kapuso, Mr. Miguel Mike C. Enriquez, who peacefully joined our Creator on August 29, 2023," the statement began.

"He joined the broadcast industry in 1969 and then became part of GMA Network in 1995, wholeheartedly serving the Filipino audience for 54 years."

"The Board of Directors, management, and employees of GMA Network, Inc. deeply mourn the passing of Mr. Enriquez. His dedication to the industry will serve as an inspiration to all. We pray for the eternal repose of our beloved Kapuso," the network added.

The news show flashed a video compilation of Enriquez's memorable moments as a journalist. "Mula pagsikat ng araw hanggang sa pagkagat ng dilim, ang kanyang trademark na tinig ang naghahatid sa atin ng mga balitang walang kinikilingan at walang pinoprotektahan," his colleague Vicky Morales said in the background as she narrated his decades-long journey in the media.

His media career unexpectedly began when he visited his friend who worked for a radio station when he was just 19. "Sabi niya, 'Mike is applying for a job.' Sabi ko, 'Of course, not.' Sabi niya, 'Oh, why don't you try? Nothing to lose. Read the newspaper,'" the news anchor recalled in an interview with journalist Pia Arcangel. "Binasa ko, tapos at the end, tinanong niya ako, 'When can you start?'"

Enriquez moved to GMA Network in 1995 and took charge of its radio department. He eventually started delivering his reports on TV when GMA needed a male anchor for an election coverage.

"Itong mukha na ito, hindi pangTV ito eh. Tanggap ko yun. Sarili ko ngang nanay, hindi nga makapaniwalang nasa TV ako eh," he said in a previous interview with a laugh.

Enriquez worked as an anchor for GMA's newscast Saksi, where he showcased his brilliance through "fast-paced" news reporting.

He officially became an "Imbestigador ng Bayan" in 2000 as the host of Imbestigador—an investigative docudrama that featured crime stories and anomalies. He also joined 24 Oras in 2004.

"Ang kanyang husay, kinilala hindi lamang dito sa Pilipinas kundi maging sa international stage," Vicky said. "Pero sa kanyang galing sa pagbabalita, kanya ring naipapakita ang kanyang pagiging tao lamang."

"Ngayon, ang aming minamahal na si Mike, hindi muling maririnig ang tinig matapos ang kanyang pakikipaglaban sa karamdaman. Pero sa aming puso, malinaw na malinaw pa rin ang kanyang boses," continued Vicky.

"Gamay namin sa paghahatid ng serbisyo at katotohanan at ng matapang na pagbabalita. Paalam, Mike. Hanggang sa ating muling pagkikita," she added as the 24 Oras anchors gave him a round of applause.

The veteran news anchor went on medical leave in 2018 to get treatment for a kidney disease. He had a heart bypass surgery in September of the same year.

Enriquez underwent a kidney transplant in December 2021 and returned to work in March 2022.

In a press conference after his operation, he opened up about reflecting on his future, his career, and his life.

"Ano ba talagang gusto kong mangyari sa buhay ko? Is it time to turn off the microphone? Is it time to not turn off the microphone completely, but to lessen?" he mused. "I am still in the process of making that discernment."

When asked about his plans to retire, he said he "cannot think of anything that will break the deal" then. "Kasi ang daming nangyayari eh, and people like us in media, this is what we live for," the TV personality explained.

He, however, said he wanted to "slow down without leaving broadcasting" in the future.

Rest in peace, Mike Enriquez.