Veteran journalist Vicente Tirol dies at 75

by Paterno R. Esmaquel II

MANILA, Philippines

The late Vicente Tirol is best remembered as publisher of ‘Pinoy Times,’ a hard-hitting tabloid run by veteran journalists and known for its exposés against then president Joseph Estrada

Veteran journalist Vicente G. Tirol died at the age of 75 on Monday evening, October 19, his son Jo-Ed confirmed.

Tirol died at 10:02 pm on Monday, his son told Rappler.

Born in Ibajay, Aklan, on April 30, 1945, Tirol finished journalism at the University of the Philippines (UP) in 1966. He was one of the recipients of the Glory Medal of Distinction, an award for distinguished UP mass communication alumni, in November 2017.

A former commissioner of the UNESCO National Commission, Tirol also taught journalism to both undergraduate and graduate students in Ateneo de Manila University.

Tirol is best remembered as publisher of Pinoy Times, a hard-hitting tabloid run by veteran journalists and known for its exposés against then president Joseph “Erap” Estrada. Founded by Philippine media legend Eugenia Apostol, Pinoy Times earned praise for its topnotch journalism at a time when other tabloids relied on pornography and violence to sell.

Tirol’s work for Pinoy Times won him honors, including a finalist citation in the prestigious Jaime V. Ongpin journalism awards for his October 2001 story about the Presidential Commission on Good Government, titled “Magpupursige.”

“Vicente ‘Vic’ G. Tirol was a mentor to some, an editor to many, and a friend to all. A veteran newspaperman and editor, Vic capped his career as publisher of the proud Pinoy Times, that feisty little political tabloid that defied Erap and proved that not all tabloids had to rely on the formula of sex and violence to get noticed,” wrote veteran journalist Ed Lingao in a public Facebook post on Tuesday, October 20.

“Farewell Sir Vic,” Lingao said. “We are proud to be considered your friends.”

The Asian Center for Journalism (ACFJ) at Ateneo de Manila University also paid tribute to Tirol, who taught advanced reporting in ACFJ’s master of arts in journalism program in the mid-2000s when it was newly launched. Tirol “was one of the lecturers who pioneered online teaching.”

He is survived by his wife Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, who herself is a seasoned journalist (and whom he praised in class as the better journalist, teacher, and editor), and his sons who are likewise accomplished professionals – Jo-Ed, a history professor in Ateneo, and Paulo, a musical theater writer and liturgical musician in the United States.