Saturday, July 18, 2009


Among my father's many good friends is a gentleman and a gentle man who stands out in the company of the likes of Blas Ople, Kokoy Romualdez, Adrian Cristobal, Chitang Nakpil and several others whose names escape my memory for now. He is the late great JV Cruz, former Press Secretary and Ambassador to England. In 1990, to the delight of my father, Ambassador Cruz finally returned to Manila from London where he had been in self-exile since the EDSA Revolt of '86. JV has been described by legions as the best press secretary our country ever had. His record to this day is still one that has yet to be surpassed or even equalled. He served under President Ramon Magsaysay along with other glamor boys like Raul Manglapus, Maning Pelaez, Terry Adevoso, Jimmy Ferrer and Manny Manahan. And I'm absolutely certain that his colleagues in the diplomatic community had everything good to say about him as a Filipino diplomat.

Coming back in 1990, JV received tempting offers from many newspapers and radio-TV stations, and whoever got him surely had prime cut and hit the jackpot. One of the oft-repeated stories about Ambassador Cruz was when he was press secretary - about an incident involving him and a Manila Chronicle reporter who was lambasting Magasaysay every single day. JV pulled the reporter into an empty room one day and yelled: "I have already helped you financially, introduced you to charming women, treated you out to the best restaurants with good food and fine wine and begged you to be fair to Magsaysay, but you refuse to budge! So, let's settle this in a fistfight. If you win, I will no longer bother you, but if I win over you, give Monching (Magsaysay) a fair shake."

The two did have a fistfight. Both declared it a draw after inflicting bruises and contusions on each other. They became the best of friends after that.

Accompanying my father to JV's wake some years back, I noticed a coffee mug resting on a table near his reading glasses and his trusty typewriter, with a scotch glass and a half-emptied bottle of the finest scotch whiskey, where his friends would toast the man and take a farewell shot, just next to his casket. The mug bore an inscription which read, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."

Many fine stories about JV Cruz are embedded in the hearts of his many friends who still miss him to this day, for indeed, how can anyone really ever forget a good man?

Portrait by the great Alcuaz, courtesy of Edvee Cruz.

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