Assoc Prof. Jacinta Cruz (Photo from the UST Facebook page)

Assoc. Prof. Jacinta Cruz, who was one of the longest-serving professors in the Faculty of Pharmacy, succumbed to breast cancer on March 26. She was 74.

Cruz was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Fluids started building up in her lungs in February this year. 

By March, the cancer had already metastasized and only a third of her lungs was functioning, Cruz’s sister, Carmen Mercedes Esguerra, told the Varsitarian.

Cruz finished her bachelor’s degree in medical technology at the University in 1967. She obtained her master’s degree in public health at the University of the Philippines in 1980. 

Cruz started teaching at the University in 1967. 

In 2009, Cruz was named a “Most Outstanding Professional” in the field of medical technology by the Professional Regulation Commission

Cruz retired from teaching in 2012.

Esguerra, who is residing in Los Angeles, California, said she wanted to be with Cruz when she was in palliative care but never got the chance to fly back to the Philippines. 

“I tried to fly home… she said she wanted me by her side… I know she wanted to hold my hand so I told Joy, the caregiver, to always hold her hand. ‘Yun ‘yung masakit for me as here I was, [a] home health worker looking after other people, and I couldn’t take care of my own sister,” Esguerra said.

Communications Bureau Asst. Director Philippe Jose Hernandez also recalled his memories with the late professor when he was a University scholar in 2007. 

“She expected us to help in the work, but also understood that we have to study. I remember she would be the one to remind me to always study first because that was why I was a scholar,” Hernandez told the Varsitarian.  

Hernandez also said Cruz remained a “friend and mentor” even after her retirement. 

“I respected how much she believed in science and God… she was a fighter until the end. After she had her last rites, she left everything to God but chose to continue her medication until the time when God called her home,” said Hernandez. 

The Philppine Association of Medical Technologists (Pamet) also paid tribute to Cruz’s contribution to the field of medical technology. 

“Farewell Ma’am Janie, thank you for everything. We will remember you as a dedicated mentor, a very passionate professor and most of all, a loving friend. Rest in peace,” Pamet said in a Facebook post. 

Cruz’s remains were cremated in Sanctuarium, Quezon City on March 28. Christine Joyce Paras 


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