NOW that Cerge Remonde is gone from our midst, what sticks out in my memory was the young man going around with Maning Satorre and hanging at the Department of Public Information (DPI) office where the Philippine News Agency then held fort. Two people were close to him as he learned the “ropes” on news reporting. I didn’t know what arrangement he had with Henry Redula, who was the PNA Cebu chief, but he was always there.

I learned later from them that Cerge was a dependable cub. He went after sources of news and always came back with something to write about. I did not have much contact with Cerge then, but I learn-ed much about him because he was the butt of jokes of his elders. It seemed they were giving him tough assignments, and did not expect him to deliver. But that he eventually did was a source of amazement to them. There was also Dodo Embrado and Boy Veloso, both of whom I contracted to train the DPI writing staff.

Well, Henry is gone and Maning is in Los Angeles. He is also reportedly ill but is still trying to communicate with friends.

The Cebu media during the martial law years was as dynamic as it is today. But I was detached from them because of the position I held, although as Cheking Seares would attest, I left them to their own devices. It was my purpose to have Boy Veloso edit the news released from my office to make them acceptable to the local media.

It was during Cory Aquino’s regime that Cerge and I got closer.

But by then, I was already out of the government and had joined Sun Star Daily when it started operation in 1982. I was one of the pioneers of SSD, while Cerge had started to make a name in the broadcast media. He was very active, very aggressive when it comes to getting the news. If I am to use a term I gained from my training in management at the Development Academy of the Philippines, Cerge was a perfect example of a risk taker.

There was the saying then among management buffs that it was better to decide and be wrong rather than not make any decision at all. I think this was the type of manager Cerge was. This is why he could not tie himself down to any situation without doing something, right or wrong. When his wife Marit said during an interview the other day that she thought Cerge had suffered so much stress, was not getting good rest and was frustrated although also feeling fulfilled, I believe her.

Cerge, though, was the last one in my mind to leave us at this moment and time of day. That his passing was unexpected is what deeply amplifies our sorrow of his death.