Recto Mercene, photographer behind Ninoy Aquino’s historic assassination photo, needs help

Image: Recto Mercene | Facebook
Image: Recto Mercene | Facebook

He made history by snapping a photo of one of the most significant events in time. And now, he needs our help.

Award-winning photojournalist Recto Mercene, who was behind the iconic photograph of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino’s assassination at the Manila International Airport in 1983, is in need of financial assistance after suffering a fall.

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“I am writing on behalf of the family of my best friend, Danica Mercene, to request for support and fundraise for her father, Recto L. Mercene”, Jam Regis Kotenko wrote on her Facebook post that was published Friday, September 17. “Recto is a 77 year-old journalist in the Philippines. At his age, he loves being productive and enjoys his work. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his many plants.”

According to the post, the 77-year-old veteran journo, who still works as a reporter for Business Mirror, was found with bleeding in his brain and on-and-off fever after he was rushed to the Asian Hospital in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. Mercene also has diabetes and asthma, and previously underwent brain surgery and a heart bypass. He is also uninsured.

“Recto is also 77 years old and is uninsured. He resides in a country that is economically not doing well during the pandemic, so medical costs are at an all-time high. While we await for a clearer picture of his case, the hospital bills are slowly and steadily piling up”, the post read.

“In order to help ease the emotional burden Recto’s family will take on as they focus on his care and health, and in order to get ahead of the looming financial challenges they are about to face, we would like to request for financial contributions through this platform. Donations would exclusively be used to pay for his medical bills that include numerous and expensive tests, medications, and the cost of his hospital stay. It will also partially compensate for loss of his income while he is confined and recuperating.”

Known for his historic photo of Aquino’s 1983 assassination, Recto was a photojournalist for the Romualdez-owned Times Journal. In 2017, Mercene told Esquire Philippines that he was proud to have been part of history, recalling his experience during one of the investigations launched by Marcos at the time. “Tinatanong ako ni Agrava, ‘Nakita mo ba ang bumaril?’ Wala naman sa aming nakakakita yung bumaril. At the back of my mind, [I thought,] I am part of this. Nothing can take it away from me.” His photo was published in various publications all over the world.

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If you would like to extend help to Mr. Recto Mercene and his family, please go to Jam’s Facebook post to check out the details. International or dollar donors may make their donations on Gava.

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