Paalam at salamat, Kapamilya
I fondly called him “sweetheart” because that’s what he was... a sweet and thoughtful gentleman who never forgot to give me a single-stem rose every Valentine’s Day and special gifts on my birthday and Christmas. For my birthday last year, he gave me the strawberry shortcake from Mrs. Baby Yulo I requested so I could serve it during my treat for the executive ladies I regularly have lunch with. He was also my source for info when officemates asked if there was a bonus or var pay coming our way. He was ABS-CBN Corporation’s chief finance officer (CFO) and my dear colleague and friend, Ron Valdueza. Ron passed away on March 30.
Ron was quiet and unassuming despite his stature. He made everyone laugh with his funny anecdotes and hilarious punchlines. A story that never failed to crack us up was the one about the vanity plates he got for a new European car he purchased many years ago, which bore the letters “JLC.” Ron said that whenever his driver would bring the car up the ABS-CBN driveway, fans would crowd around it and peer through the heavily tinted glass, expecting to see John Lloyd Cruz. When Ron emerged, the fans would, of course, show their disappointment that it was “only” him. When I asked him why he chose “JLC,” he replied that the letters represented the three most important women in his life: His partner Lovely and his daughters, Joanna and Chesca. (Three years ago, he and Lovely became the proud parents of baby girl Leigh.)
Because of the enhanced community quarantine, his family and friends can’t gather to celebrate Ron’s life. This is why I asked his best buddies at work to share their fondest memories of Ron. Here are a few:
Mark Lopez, chairman: “Ron is the colleague who took the office two doors away from mine. His door was always open so that anyone could come in and consult with him. He was inspiring, approachable and lovable — a truly good person. He dedicated 30 years of his life to ABS-CBN and helped the business in so many ways.”
Carlo Katigbak, president and CEO: “When Lovely became pregnant three years ago, she was due to give birth in April. Being a Taurus, I would tease Ron that there was a chance his baby and I would share the same birthday. He looked at me and said, ‘Huwag naman sana… baka maging kasing tigas ng ulo mo.’ Well, she was born exactly on my birthday, and Ron made me her ninong.”
Raymund Miranda, chief strategy and risk management officer: “We liked having a drink at the end of the workday to unwind and wait for traffic to lighten up. But every night, he would aim to finish his drink at the same time (7:20 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) and say ‘Guys, gotta go. Alam niyo naman may baby ako.’ That was also the last thing he said to us on the last day at the office before the quarantine began, and the last thing he said to us face to face.”
Philbert Berba, head of Corporate Services Group: “Bilang isang executive, iba si RPV (Ron). Lagi niyang isinaalang-alang ang kapakanan ng mga empleyado. Lagi niyang hinahanapan ng paraan kung saan kukunin ang funds para matulungan ang nangangailangan na Kapamilya. Batman nga, kumbaga! Ganyan kalaki ang puso ni RPV.”
Mark Nepomuceno, Organization Transformation consultant, so eloquently summed up Ron: “A man with a big heart for everyone, a bigger heart for the underdog, and whose heart he surrendered to his family. The ultimate professional. A true leader gifted with intelligence and acquired street smarts. A forever loyal and faithful friend. A true Kapamilya who was in the service of the Filipino because he loved the Filipinos he served.
“Ron, padre, our (almost) daily after-office get-togethers for quick drinks will never be the same. While there will always be a space for you at the table when we raise our glasses to toast the important and not-so-important events in our lives and work, the space in our hearts made empty by your passing will never be filled again. Paalam at salamat, padre. Mahal ka namin, Kapamilya.”