Ex-press secretary Dong Puno passes away

Veteran broadcaster and former Press Secretary Ricardo “Dong” Puno, Jr. has died after an illness, his brother Deputy Speaker Robbie Puno of Antipolo confirmed Tuesday.

“Dong was the eldest of a brood of twelve Puno siblings. When Dong became ill, we launched a family group called Dongdinners. We siblings took turns treating Dong to restaurants of his choice, sometimes in the country of his choice,” Robbie said in a Facebook post.

Dongdinners, Robbie said, was a way for them to express their gratitude to Dong who took care and guided them all their lives.

“[The dinners were] a metaphor for Dong’s selfless sharing of whatever good fortune he had. For his desire to give those he loved a life that maybe he did not enjoy in his,” Robbie said.

“May we, those who loved him, those who knew him, those who learned from him, those who benefited from his wisdom, his kindness, his generosity, may we endeavor to make his memory live on, may we keep dongdinners alive, in our own way. Rest well, Kuya Dong,” Robbie added.

As this developed, the Palace also expressed condolences to the family of the Dong Puno.

“We extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the family, loved ones, friends, and colleagues of former Press Secretary Atty. Ricardo “Dong” Puno Jr. on his passing. Secretary Dong was a vital cabinet official of the Estrada administration in communicating its policies and programs to the Filipino people,” Secretary Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) said.

Dong, who is also a lawyer, served as the Press Secretary of the former President Joseph Estrada.

Andanar, however, said that Puno is so much more than a public servant.

“He devoted his life to journalism, law, and education to which he fulfilled managerial responsibilities. His dedication to his profession will always be remembered, especially by his family, loved ones, friends, and colleagues whom he has helped and touched the lives of through his services,” Andanar said.–Llanesca Panti/LDF, GMA News

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