Manila Standard senior reporter Christine Herrera died on Sunday morning of cardiac arrest while on vacation in Bangkok, Thailand. She was 49.
Herrera, fondly called “Mamu” by her friends in the media, is survived by her husband Lito Herrera, daughters Nikki and Abby, son-in-law JB and grandson Malcolm Mason.
A native of Cebu, Herrera joined the Standard during the stewardship of then editor-in-chief Jullie Yap-Daza, after her stint in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. She had been covering the Senate and the House of Representatives for the Standard.
Details of her wake and interment will be announced later by the Herrera family.
Christine was known for her hard-hitting articles, exposing shenanigans in the corridors of power—be it in Congress or other agencies of government.
News of her demise shocked her friends both in and outside the media, flooding her Facebook with “Rest In Peace” messages and heartfelt condolences to her family. They included former lawmaker and broadcaster Gilbert Remulla, public relations expert Toteng Tanglao, officemates and co-workers.
Christine’s last FB post was at 5:27 p.m. on Saturday—a picture of her wearing a red silk kimono while staying at Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam. She said: “Kelangan ko na talaga magpapayat [I really need to lose weight]. To do justice to the Thai silk. Haha! Kainis!”
She was in the news in June 2015 when then-Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. pressed her to name her sources for stories on the alleged payoff made to members of the House of Representatives for the swift passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.
Back then, Herrera told the House panel that based on her interviews with her sources, Chinese fugitive Wang Bo gave P100 million to Immigration officials to stop his deportation to China.
She also wrote in her stories that Wang released $10 million to bribe lawmakers into passing the Palace-backed BBL, and that some of her sources were congressmen who actually accepted barya-barya (loose change)—thus angering Barzaga, who moved to cite her for contempt.
In August 2006, Christine was named in a P30-million libel suit then-President Joseph Estrada filed against beauty queen Joelle Pelaez, along with Pelaez’s mother Blanquita Pelaez, then-Manila Standard publisher Teodoro Locsin Jr., editor-in-chief Jojo Robles, and lawyer Dennis Funa.
In the articles written by Christine, Pelaez was quoted as accusing Estrada of laundering P2.07 billion worth of securities, bonds and other debt instruments through the government-sequestered UCPB by allegedly using her name and forging her signature shortly before Estrada’s impeachment trial in 2000.