Below are excerpts from an article written by my late dad, Ambassador J.V.Cruz, on the occasion of the 38th death anniversary of President Ramon Magsaysay, for whom my dad worked as his Press Secretary from the time he was elected President to the ill-fated day he died in a plane crash. The article was written on March 17, 1995 when Senator Jun Magsaysay first made a bid for a Senate seat. He won and for his exemplary performance as legislator, was re-elected six years later. This is his 3rd bid for a seat in the upper chamber and we wish him luck and for the sake of the country, we hope he wins once again.
By: JV Cruz
On the day his father died, Jun Magsaysay was having breakfast with his entire family at the Malacañang private dining room after they had heard mass (it was a Sunday) at the Palace chapel. We had been phoned by a civil aeronautics official who had informed us that the president’s plane was overdue, and we told him we would go to Malacañang to break the disturbing news to the family and urged him not to tell anyone else. We picked up Senator Emmanuel Pelaez and when we arrived at the palace, came upon a family that was in high spirits totally unaware of the tragedy that had already happened and was about to devastate their lives.
Mrs. Luz Magsaysay was somewhat surprised to see Manny Pelaez and ourself dropping in so early and on a Sunday morning at that. But not too surprised: her husband, she knew, had the most unorthodox working habits and would receive associates and visitors during the unlikeliest days and unlikeliest hours . She told us the President had not yet come back from Cebu but was due at anytime. But soon enough, some instinct or other told her we had come for a specific purpose and wanted us to come clean. We told her then that the President’s plane was over due and missing, by this time six hours or so after taking off from Cebu.
The first to breakdown was the eldest child, Teresita (who has died), who fled from the dining table after breaking out in sobs. After a while Mrs. Magsaysay herself began weeping quietly. Jun stuck to his chair but in time rose, paused to give his mother a comforting hand, and then retreated to his own room. This was the day Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. then only 18 years old, and an only son, became a man.
Jun Magsaysay’s time as a businessman and pioneering entrepreneur, has come, and he is a multi-millionaire many times over. And he has done it all the only way his father would have approved of and applauded – honestly, the hard way, without dropping names or pulling strings, paying bribes or cutting corners.
This is the kind of business and economic savvy , daring and vision, and inflexible integrity, that could be put to good use in the Senate for the country’s progress and development. God knows we have far too many lawyers in Congress. Jun Magsaysay has made clear in his campaign speeches that if elected he would like to concentrate on economic legislation, particularly measures to boost our exports. We can at least be assured of one Senator who knows what he is talking about, a graduate of the university of life and hard knocks.