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Former Press Secretary and Veteran Broadcaster Dong Puno Dies at 76

RIP.
ILLUSTRATOR WARREN ESPEJO

Ricardo Dong Puno Jr., a lawyer-turned-media personality who also served as Press Secretary during the administration of President Joseph Estrada, has died. The news was confirmed by his sons Ricky and Donnie Puno. He was 76. 

Puno became a household name when he hosted a range of business and public affairs programs on GMA and ABS-CBN, particularly Dong Puno Live on the latter network, which ran from 1995 to 2000. He also served as senior vice president for news and current affairs for ABS-CBN. Before that he hosted shows like Viewpoint and Business Today on the rival Kapuso Network.

After leaving ABS-CBN, he moved to AksyonTV where he hosted Kalibre 41 and later, Dong Puno De Kalibre.

After Estrada was elected in 1998, he joined his administration as Press Secretary. He made a failed bid for the Senate in 2001. He rejoined ABS-CBN soon after and anchored the late-night newscast Insider with Ces Oreña-Drilon. The programs was cancelled about a year later, after which Puno again tried his luck with politics, running for the lone congressional seat of Muntinlupa. He was, again, unsuccessful. 

Puno was born on January 20, 1946. He was the son of former Justice Minister Ricardo C. Puno. His brother Ronaldo Puno was a former Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, while another brother Roberto “Robbie” Puno is a former congressman. Dong Puno graduated with a law degree from Ateneo De Manila University and pursued a Masters degree from Harvard University. Before his broadcasting career, he was the senior partner of the Puno and Puno Law Offices, and became vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Philippine Airlines. From 2008 to 2012 he also served as president of Guaga National Colleges in Pampanga.

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In 2015, there were reports that Puno was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He is survived by his wife, two sons, and grandchildren.

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