The last time I talked with Nenita “Inday Nita” Cortes Daluz was in the ‘90s when I was still working with another paper. I interviewed her for a special report I did during one of the anniversaries of the Edsa people power uprising. She was obviously not in the best of health even then, although she treated me well like the Inday Nita of old.
Inday Nita died yesterday and the people whom she touched especially at the height of her popularity in the ‘80s surely were saddened by her passing. She was a unique personality in a tumultuous era, and I thus doubt if anybody can replace her now or in the near future. It is not often that character and situation merge to create a giant.
One trait that I would say made Inday Nita stand out was her innocence, one that I think she retained even until her death. This was both her weakness and her strength. Before Erap jokes even became popular, those about Inday Nita already made the rounds, mainly centering on her supposed misuse and mispronunciation of English words.
But it was her seeming innocence that endeared her to her millions of listeners in the radio talk shows that she hosted; and that innocence also guided her politics later on. While her commentaries were simplistic for those with intellectual pretensions, whatever she said rang true and sincere for the common folk glued to her popular radio programs.
I doubt if any other media personality could match the height of popularity Inday Nita’s programs reached, and I mean not only during her peak but also before that and immediately after. Talyux Bacalso can make a go at it, but his media stint was not as long. Indeed, Inday Nita stands higher than today’s popular but haughty radio anchors.
Her dedication to radio work and the decency with which he handled her radio programs, even when she shifted from entertainment to opinion making should be a model for present day broadcasters. Inday Nita limited herself to issues and proved that one can be a popular radio commentator without being harsh, insulting and self-righteous.
Her innocence, however, was a liability in the snake pit that is the world of traditional Philippine politics. Politicians used her as an instrument for their selfish political goals. She probably realized that after she became a lawmaker, a national government official and a politician. She withdrew from politics and went back to radio.
To the end, Inday Nita was a media person. And she towers above all of us.
–I wrote this for my August 30, 2007 column in Sun.Star Cebu