Journalist Chit Estella killed in crash

Posted at 05/13/2011 9:14 PM | Updated as of 05/14/2011 12:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - Veteran journalist Lourdes 'Chit' Estella Simbulan died Friday night after a passenger bus crashed onto a taxi she was riding near the UP Technohub in Diliman, Quezon City.

Estella was a trustee of the VERA Files, a group of investigative journalists. She was also a teacher at the UP College of Mass Communication.

She served as managing editor of The Manila Times under its then chief editor Malou Mangahas, now executive editor of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

Estella was herself editor in chief of the Pinoy Times, a tabloid that gained prominence for sharp criticisms of then President Joseph Estrada.

Luz Rimban, her colleague in VERA Files, said Estella was on her way to meet her relatives when the incident happened at around 6 p.m.

Rimban said the taxi got "crumpled" in the collision. Estella apparently died instantly.

Hit and run

The bus driver didn't stop and sped away after hitting the taxi.

According to SPO4 Nelson Apostol, a Quezon City traffic investigator, both the taxi and the bus were moving toward the Philippine Coconut Authority (PHILCOA) area from Fairview.

He said the bus suddently hit the taxi at the back where Estella was seated.

Apostol said the victim was still inside the taxi when he arrived at the scene.

A rescue team immediately brought Estella to the General Malvar Hospital along Commonwealth Ave., but she was declared dead on arrival by an attending physician.

As of posting time, the taxi driver had not yet given a statement to the police or the media.

The bus driver has not been named, but the bus line has been identified as a Universal Guiding Star bus with plate number UVC 343.

Estella is survived by her husband, Roland Simbulan, a professor at the University of the Philippines Manila and a leading anti-US bases and nuclear-free Philippines advocate. 

Wake at Arlington Memorial Chapel

In a statement posted on its website early Saturday morning, VERA Files said: "VERA Files announces with deep sorrow the demise of VERA Files co-founder and trustee Lourdes Estella- Simbulan.  She was 54."

VERA Files also announced that Estella will be cremated on Saturday morning at the Arlington Memoral Chapels and Crematory in Quezon City.

Her remains will stay at Arlington until Monday. The UP College of Mass Communication has scheduled a memorial service for Estella at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. She was a full-time faculty member of the the college's journalism department.

"Simbulan, a graduate of journalism from UP Diliman and holder of a master’s degree in public management from the UP Open University, started her journalistic career as a reporter of the Manila Evening Post in the early 1980s.  She joined Tempo and later Ang Pahayagang Malaya where she was a senior reporter," VERA Files said.