PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has tapped Crispulo “Jun” Icban Jr., editor-in-chief of the Manila Bulletin, to fill in the shoes — a hot seat and a tough job — of the late Press Secretary Cerge M. Remonde, who died of cardiac arrest last Jan 19.
The President announced Icban’s appointment during a sumptous luncheon with members of the Malacañang Press Corps at the Malacanang’s State Dining Room.
Remonde was supposed to celebrate his first year as press secretary on Feb. 1 en route to the stepping down from the presidency of Mrs. Arroyo on June 30.
Philippine Information Agency’s chief Secretary Conrado Dodie Limcaoco Jr. said that Icban has accepted the post, pointing out that he will ably fill in the shoes of Remonde.
Limcaoco said that he will quickly effect a turnover and transition as quickly as possible after the President named him to take Remonde’s place as officer in charge following the latter’s untimely passing away.
He said that his health woes would not do justice to the post vacated by Remonde, adding he is diabetic, hypertensive and has spinal problem just like the former press secretary.
Icban rose from the ranks. Born in Tondo, Manila on Aug. 3, 1935, he graduated class valedictorian in elementary in 1946 and class valedictorian, too, in 1950 at the Pampanga High School.
He graduated with Bachelor of Arts in English, magna cum laude, in 1954 at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
In his senior year at UP, he was editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian, the university’s student paper.
Upon graduation, he joined the Manila Times as general assistant in the editorial department, then as reporter covering the Department of Foreign Affairs and editorial writer.
Years later, he was named its news editor, a position he held until the paper was closed down by martial law in 1972.
While he was with the Manila Times, he was accorded Fulbright and Smith Mundt grants in 1957-58 to study at Syracuse University in New York, United States. He graduated with a Master of Arts in Journalism.
In 1966-67, he was one of 12 American and six international newsmen in the annual Nieman Fellowship program at Harvard University in Massachusetts, US.
Icban also served as professorial lecturer in Journalism and English at the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) from 1956 to 1957 and at the UP-Diliman from 1958 to 1973.
In 1974, two years after the Manila Times was closed down by martial law, Icban joined the Manila Bulletin as consultant to the publisher, later becoming news editor and later editor. He became editor-in-chief on Nov. 25, 2003.
Icban has received numerous awards in the over half a century that he has been active in journalism. Among them: one of the Outstanding Kapampangans, 1988, awarded by the Pampanga provincial government; one of the Distinguished Tarlaqueños, 2003, awarded by the Tarlac provincial government; Doctor of Philosophy in Management, honoris causa, conferred by the Pampanga Agricultural College, April 12, 2006.
He is married to Zenaida Pamintuan Icban of Bacolor, Pampanga. They have six children and 16 grandchildren.