“Excuse me po,” and “Hindi namin kayo tatantanan,” phrases that resonated through the airwaves via the iconic shows “24 Oras” and “Imbestigador” now stand as enduring emblems of the media legend Mike Enriquez.
Philippine journalism mourned the loss of a true legend, as Enriquez, the seasoned radio host and revered television broadcaster, passed away on Tuesday, leaving behind a legacy that will forever be etched in media history. He was 71.
His death was confirmed during Tuesday’s episode of GMA News’ “24 Oras” TV program.
“It is with profound sadness that GMA Network announces the passing of our beloved Kapuso, Mr. Miguel ‘Mike’ C. Enriquez, who peacefully joined our creator on August 29, 2023,” the GMA statement said as reported by Mel Tiangco.
“His dedication to the industry will serve as an inspiration to all.
We pray for the eternal repose of our beloved Kapuso.” In 2021, the “24 Oras” anchor underwent a kidney transplant and returned on air in March, coinciding with last year’s national elections.
But Enriquez went back on leave to take care of his health.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Enriquez’s television investigative docudrama show “Imbestigador” would be airing its finale episode after 23 years to give way to a new documentary program, Pinoy Crime Stories, which will be airing on September 16, hosted by GMA News reporter John Consulta.
Born Miguel Castro Enriquez on September 29, 1951, Mike began his stint in broadcasting in 1969 when he visited a friend at Manila Broadcasting Company and accidentally discovered his interest in radio. He worked as a staff announcer on the same station.
He worked in various fields including broadcasting and journalism and saw his career flourish. Enriquez became a broadcast reporter, a news editor, a program director, a station manager, and a senior manager of a radio network.
He also became the general manager of FBS Radio Network and vice president of Radio Mindanao Network. He has also taught Broadcast Management at De La Salle University where he finished a degree in AB Liberal Arts in Commerce in 1973.
As a radio announcer, his voice had already made an inedible mark, apart from his famous spiels “Hindi ka namin tatantanan,” and “Excuse me po.” He is also the voice behind the Mellow Touch 94.7 radio station’s signature and introduction. In a previous exclusive interview with Manila Standard, Enriquez described his childhood as “destructive to a certain extent.”
It’s not that his childhood was corrupted or he had traumatic experiences. Just like any other “kings,” Enriquez was as stubborn as a “prince.”
As the eldest of three children, he was an ultra-hyper kid.
“Every time relatives knew we were coming, they would set aside the breakable items as if a super typhoon were headed their way,” Enriquez said.
He explained that every time his family visited the homes of relatives, he would always play with every piece of decoration including breakables – ceramics, glass, and even vinyl phonograph records.
He would almost always smash or break a piece or two.
He never considered staying in the media industry and making it his bread and butter, but he took pleasure in his work and harbored a passion for the job.
He looked up to prominent media icons like Louie Beltan, Ka Doroy Valencia, Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, and Peter Jennings.
During his career as a radio announcer, he was known as “Baby Michael.”
When asked if there are still people who call him that moniker, he jokingly said: “All of them are above fifty! Some are not sure so they ask first: “Ikaw ba si Baby Michael n’ong araw?”
Enriquez’s mantra is “helping others, helping others, helping others.”
That is the wisdom behind his definition of genuine public service.
It is about helping people especially the poor and downtrodden, with sincere, heartfelt, and honest willingness, generosity, and without expecting or wanting to be rewarded or even thanked for it. For young media practitioners who would like to follow in his footsteps, his message was: “Be true and honest, to yourself, to others, to your profession. Stay focused and be a little crazy sometimes. Never stop learning. Always genuinely like and help people.”
With his principles, he was named one of the most child-friendly personalities by the Southeast Asian Foundation for Children and thrice consecutive by the Anak TV Seal awards in 2004, 2005, and 2006. He ranked 54 in Biznews Asia’s 100 Most Influential Filipinos in 2006, up by 26 positions from rank 80 in 2004 when he was first included in the prestigious list.
Enriquez was the only Filipino to receive the Best Newscaster in Asian Television Awards in 1999. He received Best Newscaster awards by the Golden Dove Awards (1999, 2000, and 2002), Outstanding Television Host by Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and Outstanding Radio and Television Commentator by Consumers Union of the Philippines 15th Annual National Consumers Awards in 2004, Best Male Newscaster by University of Sto. Tomas’s USTV awards in 2006, and Most Outstanding Male News Presenter of the Year by COMGUILD Center for Journalism in 2007.