This is how I remember Ralph.
RPN 9 Cameraman and good friend Ralph R. Runez died last week at the age of 35 in front of his home in Tala, San Francisco Del Monte, Bulacan.
Ralph had just come home from the bank where he had withdrawn P25,000. As soon as he alighted from the jeep he had ridden home, two male robbers on board a blue motorcyle (with plate number TM ??25 or 75) accosted him and demanded that he turn over the money he had hidden in his bag. Ralph resisted attempts to grab his bag, which apart from the money, also contained a recently bought high end digital camera. The robber who was attempting to grab his bag fired a warning shot when Ralph refused to let go of his bag. The next shot hit Ralph just above his left collarbone and this caused him to fall backwards. The robber shot him again just above the groin.
It was not clear if Ralph died on the spot or at the nearby hospital.
I had known Ralph since 1997. We had met during the 31st Asean Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia which he was assigned to cover along with my (then) future wife Arlene.
Always with a ready smile and a joke handy, all the moments I had spent with Ralph was filled with laughter. I can't remember all the things we laughed about but I whenever I try to remember his face, I always see him laughing.
He was easy to like and everybody he worked with loved him.
He was also dedicated to his craft. He had actually been part of an I-witness team that had won a citation from an LA based award giving body, his camerawork was acknowledged to be among the best.
He had studied directing, lighting, and video editing. He aspired to be a director and he was, no doubt, near to fulfilling his ambition.
My wife Arlene had worked with Ralph for 8 years at RPN 9. They had been together through coverages in Mindanao in 1998 at the time when Presidnet Estrada had launched a war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. My wife also remembers the time when she had been assigned to cover Malacanang in the afternoons and how they'd often steal away to the nearest Zagu kiosk -- they did it so many times that Ralph gained weight.