VETERAN journalist Carmelo “Melo” Acuna has passed away due to complications arising from coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) early Friday morning, according to his wife. He was 64.
“My husband Melo Acuna joined his creator today at 2:30 a.m. Please pray for the eternal repose of his soul,” Ma. Jhona Acuna said on the journalist’s personal Facebook page.
Before his death, Acuna announced on his Facebook account that he and his wife were part of the 12,067 cases reported by the Department of Health (DoH) on Tuesday, and was asking for help to reach the Quezon City General Hospital’s telephone number.
He said one day later that he needed “prayers” to have his oxygen level increase to 99 or he would be brought to the hospital’s intensive care unit. His wife posted that Acuna turned for the worse on Thursday.
The family has not made arrangements for his memorial service.
Tributes poured in from government agencies that he had covered, with Communications Secretary Martin Andanar calling Acuna a “dedicated journalist” who never shied away from asking frank and straightforward questions.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire also paid her respects to Acuna during her regular media forum on Friday.
“To the family of Mr. Melo Acuna, nakikiramay po kami sa inyo at ipagdadasal po namin ang kaluluwa ni (condolences to you and we will pray for the eternal repose of the soul of) Mr. Acuna,” Vergeire said.
Born in Alabat, Quezon on Feb. 8, 1957, Acuna started as a campus journalist and later landed a job at radio dwCW of the then GTV (Government Television) (later PTV) station in Lucena City, where he wrote news, did field reports and handled late-evening platter shows.
He later transferred to radio dwGW under the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation in Legazpi City and later became a stringer for the Reuters wire service agency while also serving as correspondent for the Manila Bulletin in 1980.
He later transferred to dzRV-Radio Veritas and covered multiple beats, until becoming its station manager in 2004. He moved to the media office of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in 2007.
From 2010 to 2018, Acuna was a correspondent for China Radio International and later transferred to Asia Pacific Daily in 2018 until his death. He also worked as a senior correspondent for PressOne.PH.
He was also the host of the “Tapatan sa Aristocrat” and the “Wednesday Roundtable at Lido” media forums.
He remained as an accredited broadcast journalist with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas and was an active member of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap).