VETERAN Cebuano journalist Elias O. Baquero passed away on Saturday, January 14, 2023, or a day before the feast of the Sto. Niño. He was 63 years old.

Radio DyRC Aksyon Radio Cebu confirmed Baquero’s death on its Facebook page. Baquero was a program anchor of dyRC’s “Yagyagan” program just before he died.

In a statement on Saturday, the Cebu Citizens Press Council (CCPC) said that Baquero passed away due to cardiac arrest.

Before his retirement in 2019, Baquero served as SunStar Cebu’s senior reporter for 30 years, covering the general assignments beat.

Before his stint at SunStar, Baquero had worked with other dailies such as Ang Pahayagang Malaya, People’s Journal, the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the defunct The Republic News.

Aside from his stint in print journalism, Baquero also served as broadcaster and commentator for various radio stations in Cebu.

Baquero was not only known for his stint in the media, but also for his colorful experience from journalist to reluctant politician.

When then President Corazon Aquino assumed the presidency on February 25, 1986 following the People Power Revolution, Baquero was appointed as acting mayor of his hometown of Balilihan, Bohol by former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel.

Baquero, a radio reporter then, was covering the People Power Revolution when he was called by Pimentel, who was appointed by Aquino as local government minister, to come back to Cebu.

When he arrived in Cebu to meet with Pimentel, Baquero was immediately appointed as governor of Bohol, but he refused the appointment.

Instead, he agreed to be appointed as mayor of Balilihan. He served as acting mayor from 1987 to 1988.

Aside from his work in journalism and in politics, Baquero was formerly the chairman and one of the director of the Cebu News Workers and Multipurpose Cooperatives (Newscoop) and former president of the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists (CFBJ). The CCPC said Baquero was among those who helped the CFBJ and Newscoop grow, which enabled both organizations to become stable.

He was also the program coordinator of the 888 News Forum, a local media forum which he organized with the late columnist and host Ricky Poca.

After his stint as reporter for SunStar Cebu, Baquero founded Cebu Business Week, a weekly newspaper. Aside from being Cebu Business Week’s founder, Baquero also served as the paper’s finance and marketing head.

He was formerly a two-time president of the Rotary Club of Cebu East and formerly the assistant governor of Rotary International District 3860.

He is survived by his wife Bebie, his daughters Grace Caroline, Hope Cesely, Precious Ivy, Lyka Genesis and son Neil Elias.

According to Baquero’s eldest daughter Grace, her father’s wake will be temporarily held at the Fonus Chapel in Barangay Ibabao-Estancia, Mandaue City on Saturday night, January 14.

On Monday, Jan. 16, Baquero’s remains will be brought to the Lady of Lourdes Parish in Barangay Punta Princesa in Cebu City. Baquero was parish pastoral council president of the said parish. (JKV)