Veteran newsman Ramon S. Francisco has passed away. He was 73.
His demise was made known through the social media posts of his former colleagues and students, and was confirmed by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Journalism Society on Friday night, July 31.
Fondly called as “Ramfra”, he served as Manila Bulletin’s Associate Editor and editor-in-chief of the Animal Scene. Prior to his editorial stint, he taught at his Alma Mater, University of Santo Tomas as one of its Arts and Letters professors.
In a Facebook post on Friday night, the UST Journalism Society confirmed the demise of Francisco on July 27, 2020.
“The UST Journalism Society extends its condolences to the family and loved ones of the late journalism mentor and educator,” it said.
Francisco, who received a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in Journalism in 1967, was former UST Journalism program coordinator, Thomasian journalist, and editor, it noted. He was the former editor-in-chief of The Flame, the student organ of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, then called the College of Philosophy and Letters.
The UST Journalism Society even quoted Francisco as saying “I teach the young, they learn from me, and I also learn from them. I believe [that] education’s a two-way process. It’s not a one-way ticket.”
Francisco’s former colleagues in the Manila Bulletin grieved over his passing, even as they recalled their fond memories of him.
“RamFra.RIP. Our go-to when faced with editorial and grammar doubts, or human AP Stylebook, everybody’s friend,” says colleague, former Manila Bulletin editor Ivy Lisa Mendoza-Yulo in her Facebook Friday evening.
Another former colleague, former deskwoman Juanita “Nitz” Trinidad also cited Francisco’s editorial brilliance and savvy.
“We were seatmates in the old desk setup. He worked real fast despite his physical condition. So brilliant! Parang encyclopedia and he had a photographic memory, remembering facts and figures,” she said in a message in Facebook messenger.
“In the desk, he was an editor’s editor,” she added.
According to her, she and Francisco were college classmates in some subjects.
“He was a good student. I think he was a student leader, official or president of various UST organizations like Pax Romana, student council, Los Amantes del Espanol,” Trinidad recalled.
“I was a year ahead of him in UST. He was everybody’s crush because of his good looks in his younger years.”
She said Francisco was missed in the desk when he retired sometime in 2005. “His ever-ready smile, contagious laughter and his brilliance. Parang nagka vacuum (it felt like there has been a vacuum to be filled). Kahit wheelchair-bound na (even though he is wheelchair-bound), he was still a lover of beauty and he expressed his admiration for them. He is fun to be with.”
Francisco’s former student-turned-colleague, Nate Barretto expressed his deep gratitude to his professor and senior editor.
“To me, he was Sir Kiko, my professor in college; Sir RamFra, my senior editor in the office; and years on, Sir Mon, my fatherly adviser,” the former deskman of the Manila Bulletin said.
“The best piece of advice he ever gave me was said in a whisper: “Roll with the punches.” I still do, sir, and I thank you for that. Till the final bell of my life’s last round, I will have survived the fight because of that advice,” he added.
Francisco’s demise also saddened MB’s Senate reporter Hannah Torregoza. “So sad news. He’s my favorite mentor. Napakagaling pero ang humble nya (He is prolific, but humble), down to earth.”