Richard Tann, 51


Richard Tann’s passing ‘all too sudden’
First posted 11:00pm (Mla time) May 29, 2005
By Bayani San Diego Jr., Inquirer News Service

THAT he passed away on the eve of the birthday (May 29) of his longtime partner, fashion designer Inno Sotto, lent the passing of singer-lyricist-composer Richard Tann an unexpected air of drama.

Tann himself just celebrated his 51st birthday on May 5.

He always had a flair for the dramatic. His ongoing project is a series of 10-minute plays at Nicotina Garden Pavilion, a restaurant-theater that he put up only over a year ago.

“It was all too sudden,” was the common refrain from friends who gathered on the first night of the wake at the Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park. Among the first to arrive were beauty expert Dr. Vicki Belo, restaurateur Margarita Fores and fashion editor Michael Salientes.

Understandably, Sotto was distraught.

Still, he tried his best to comfort the others just as steeped in grief, including singer Basil Valdez, whom he bumped into at the door of the chapel, and embraced tightly.

For the most part, however, Sotto was holed up in a private room, kept company by Hugo, a Pomeranian.

“Hugo is their baby,” Fores said, smiling sadly.

Fores, whose fondest memories of Tann are food-related, ended up catering for Sotto’s birthday . . . at Richard’s wake.

Hewing closely to Chinese tradition, the family asked that no photos of the coffin be taken. They are also keeping the coffin closed; viewing will be restricted to the nearest and dearest.

Salientes and Fores said they were choosing to remember Tann as he was, “brimming with life and child-like wonderment.”

“He was such a sweetie pie,” recalled singer Jacqui Magno, Tann’s group mate in the prime ’70s show band Circus. Magno, who was in Aklan, told Inquirer Entertainment: “He will be sorely missed. I’ve always been a fan of his beautiful voice.”

“His voice was unique,” agreed Valdez, another Circus Band alumnus. “I was the one who trained him and got him into the band.”

Talent manager Bibsy Carballo, another close associate, was stunned: “I still can’t believe it.”

Cremation is set tomorrow (May 31).

Who can forget that soothing voice that brought “Hallmark Memories” to Philippine radio way back when?  I still remember how I bought a “single” (a 45rpm record) of the song from Unimart’s record bar — and it was such a different packaging because it came in what’s similar to the cardboard CD boxes we have now.  What would you expect from the greeting card giant Hallmark?  It was a lovely song rendered in a very loving way.  Back then, Richard spelled his Tan with one “n”.

I saw the news bits about his death a day or two back yet and had meant to post something here because I had always admired the way he and his long time partner, Inno Sotto, had nurtured a solid partnernship in terms of business and love through the years.

I was part of a silent audience which saw it first hand when I would tag along with Arnold, my then boyfriend in their fashion show productions for which he had been contracted to do the mixing of the audio background.  Inno would be the star of the show, Richard would produce, and they had Ariel Lozada directing who brought Arnold on board.

Arnold once even related to me how Richard had been distraught during a recording session and was worrying himself sick because Inno had not come home  the night before.  Inno was consoling a heartbroken friend.  Richard was unhappy that his “Venus” had not even called — which probably was the last thing on Inno’s mind since he knew Richard knew he was with a friend. 

Theirs had been a long partnership, and it saddens me that Richard passed on just the day before Inno’s birthday.  That would be heartbreaking indeed — and every year, it will be a happy and sad celebration for Inno as he celebrates his birthday and the death of his beloved Richard.

It just goes to show how nothing is permanent, and that life is short.  I do hope Inno finds consolation in the fact that Richard must’ve spent the best years of his life by his side.

Teddy Benigno, 81

From the Philippine Star:

Journalist Teodoro Benigno, 81, passes quietly into history



MANILA (AP) – Teodoro Benigno, a former presidential spokesman and popular political columnist, died Friday, his family said. He was 81.

“He died quietly,” said his wife, Luz Palacios. He was diagnosed with liver cancer a month earlier, she said.

Benigno began his writing career as a police reporter in the 1940s and later became a sportswriter and sports columnist. He joined the French news agency, Agence France Presse, in Manila in 1950 and became bureau chief in 1962. He was briefly detained by the military in the early 1950s on suspicion he belonged to the underground Communist Party.

Benigno earned a master’s degree in political science and studied French at the Institut de Sciences Politiques. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1989.

Two years after dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972, Benigno and a few other foreign journalists founded the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines to defend press freedom under one-man rule.

After retiring from AFP in 1987, he joined the Cabinet of President Corazon Aquino, who succeeded Marcos, as press secretary and presidential spokesman until 1989.

Benigno then hosted two television talk shows, including the multi-awarded “Firing Line.” He also wrote political commentaries and analyses for The Philippine Star newspaper under his former sports column title “Here’s the Score.”

Aquino’s spokeswoman, Deedee Sytangco, said the former president was “very sad and sorry” over Benigno’s death.

“She will never forget the good things he did for her and for the restoration of democracy,” Sytangco said.

She said Aquino visited Benigno at the hospital late Thursday and lent him a rosary.

“I remember Teddy as a tough, principled journalist during the final, tumultuous years of President Ferdinand Marcos,” said David Briscoe, who was Manila bureau chief of The Associated Press in 1980-86. “He fought battles for government access and ended up playing a key role in government himself. He’ll be missed by colleagues and friends around the world.”

His family said his funeral will be on Tuesday.

My mother has a daily newspaper subscription, and she always “attacks” the Obituaries first.  Like my bestfriend Fe’s Mom, she believes that we must herald one’s birth and one’s passing with respect.  She tries to make sure we send a family member to a friend’s wake or a relative’s wake. 

I was scouring the breaking news at Philippine Star’s Online Edition when I chanced upon the above breaking news.

I have always held Teddy Benigno in high regard, because although he was steadfast about his alliances, he was never afraid to speak against policies or decisions of the leaders he supported when he felt they were wrong.  Most notably, I read Teddy Benigno’s defense of the convicted men in the Vizconde Massacre after he himself admitted that for the longest time, he had advocated their being made to answer for the crime — until he felt he uncovered enough inconsistencies which convinced him Hubert Webb was not guilty.

I feel his loss because he was major player of that part of Philippine History that unfolded when I was already an adult.  I condole with his family and will include him in my prayers.