Newsmakers who died in 2019

Portraits by Nico Villarete 

MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) – In 2019, we bid farewell to many Filipino icons and newsmakers from government, business, sports, showbusiness, the sciences, the arts, and journalism.

They lived fruitful lives and left legacies that their loved ones, their peers, and the public will honor and hold dear.

As we close out the year, we remember those who have left their mark in their respective fields.

In the gallery below, click on a photo to read more. In the pop-up window that appears, click on a newsmaker's name to read the article about them. Navigate through the gallery by clicking the arrow on either side of the newsmaker's photo.

Gerry Alanguilan, 51 Comic book creator Alanguilan is one of the country's comic book legends. Besides his prolific comic book career in the Philippines, he also drew for DC, Marvel, and Image Comics, in works like X-Men , Wolverine , Ultimate Avengers: Crime and Punishment , Wetworks , and Fantastic Four . In 2011, he was nominated for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award, the Oscars of the comic book industry. Photo from Alanguilan's Facebook READ: Who is Gerry Alanguilan, Filipino comic book legend?"> Gerry Alanguilan Rodolfo Albano Jr, 85 Representative, LPGMA party list The patriarch of a political clan, Albano served multiple terms as congressman of Isabela's 1st district. He was also Energy Regulatory Commission chairperson from 2004 to 2008. Photo from House of Representatives website"> Rodolfo Albano Jr Bienvenido Alejandro, 92 Businessman Alejandro co-founded the popular stationery shop Papemelroti."> Bienvenido Alejandro Datu Abul Khayr Dangcal Alonto, 73 Chairperson, Mindanao Development Authority Alonto was the first Muslim to head MinDA. Photo from Wikimedia Commons"> Datu Abul Khayr Dangcal Alonto Cesar Apolinario, 46 Journalist The beloved journalist and director made documentaries for GMA shows like i-Witness and Brigada, and co-hosted iJuander with Susan Enriquez. Photo from Apolinario's Facebook READ: #SalamatCesar: This time, we tell stories about you"> Cesar Apolinario Ramoncito "Chito" Arceo, 69 Actor Arceo was part of the 1970s primetime sitcom Chicks to Chicks, playing the role of Chiqui."> Chito Arceo Tita Lacambra Ayala, 88 Poet The prolific poet from Ilocos Norte also founded the Davao Writers Guild. She is the mother of singers Joey Ayala and Cynthia Alexander. Photo from Ayala's Facebook"> Tita Lacambra Ayala Eddie Baddeo, 57 Designer Baddeo rose to fame in the late 1980s for his avant-garde couture using odd materials, such as CDs and venetian blinds. Photo from Instagram/@ eddiebaddeo"> Eddie Baddeo Jose Balajadia Jr, 75 Former Senate sergeant at arms Balajadia served as the Senate's sergeant at arms from 2002 to 2019. Prior to that, he was in active duty as an officer and pilot of the Philippine Air Force for 38 years."> Jose Balajadia Jr Marvin Baldemor, 50 Artist The Ireland-based artist held various art exhibitions in Europe and won special prizes throughout his career. Photo from Baldemor family"> Marvin Baldemor Bobby Baruelo, 58 Former director, Bureau of Fire Protection Baruelo headed the country's fire bureau from 2016 to July 2017. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler"> Bobby Baruelo DJ Jasmin Basar, 35 Radio DJ DJ Jasmin was known for her programs "Dear Jasmin" and later "Dear MOR" on MOR 101.9 radio. Photo from Facebook/MOR 101.9"> DJ Jasmin Basar Domingo Vusotros "Bentong" Brotamante Jr, 55 Actor and comedian From being backstage assistant, Bentong became a memorable comedy sidekick and appeared in many comedy movies and shows. Screenshot from Youtube/GMANetwork"> Bentong Andres Bernos, 81 Former governor, Abra Bernos, patriarch of a political clan, served as governor of Abra from 1984 to 1986. Photo from Facebook/Joy Bernos"> Andres Bernos Miguel Bonalos, 20 Basketball player Bonalos was a juniors basketball player for the San Sebastian College-Recoletos."> Miguel Bonalos Ariel Dim Borlongan, 60 Poet and journalist His poems tackled the struggles of the working class, the oppressed, and the marginalized. Borlongan was also known for his Filipino translation of Renato Constantino’s history books, A Past Revisited and The Continuing Past."> Ariel Dim Borlongan Annie Brazil, 85 Jazz singer Brazil was known as the Grand Lady of Jazz. Photo by Marga Deona/Rappler"> Annie Brazil Carlos Mayorico Caliwara, 61 Assistant Secretary, Department of Information and Communications Technology Caliwara was appointed as DICT assistant secretary for legal affairs and consumer protection in 2017. Photo from DICT website"> Carlos Mayorico Caliwara Rosa Caram, 94 Former OIC mayor, Iloilo City Caram was appointed as caretaker mayor of Iloilo City in 1986, following the People Power Revolution. Photo from Facebook/Joe Espinosa III"> Rosa Caram Carlos Celdran, 46 Cultural activist and performance artist Celdran, who held walking tours in Intramuros, made headlines when he interrupted a mass at the Manila Cathedral dressed as Damaso, the villainous priest in Jose Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere. Photo from Instagram READ: ' target='_blank'>[OPINION] The secret side of Carlos Celdran"> Carlos Celdran Homobono Cezar, 70 Former representative, Misamis Oriental Cezar represented the first district of Misamis Oriental in Congress from 1992 to 1998."> Homobono Cezar Mel Chionglo, 73 Director Chionglo made his directorial debut in 1981, then produced films like Midnight Dancers, Burlesk King, Iadya Mo Kami, and Lauriana. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler"> Mel Chionglo Jonathan Aguilar "Chokoleit" Garcia, 48 Actor and comedian Chokoleit was a well-known comedian and actor who starred in a number of ABS-CBN shows, like Marina. He last appeared in the film Fantastica. Photo from Instagram/ @hot_chokoleit READ: Stars mourn comedian Chokoleit's death | Comedians pay tribute during first night of Chokoleit's wake "> Chokoleit Roliveth Cortes, 53 2019 gubernatorial candidate, Cebu A television and radio show host, Cortes also ran unsuccessfully for governor of Cebu as an independent in 2013 and 2016. Photo from Facebook"> Roliveth Cortes Sophia Corullo, 6 Child actress Corullo appeared on the It's Showtime segment "Mini Me," and starred in an episode of drama anthology Maalaala Mo Kaya. Screenshot from YouTube/ABS-CBN Entertainment"> Sophia Corullo Karina David, 73 Former chairperson, Civil Service Commission David valiantly fought during the Marcos regime through music. She then served the government in various capacities for over 3 decades. Photo from Every Woman campaign"> Karina David Leoncio Deriada, 81 Writer Deriada was known as the father of contemporary West Visayan literature. He won 18 Palanca awards, and was a Gawad CCP Para sa Sining awardee. Screenshot from Youtube/culturalcenterphils"> Leoncio Deriada Vicente Emano, 76 Former mayor, Cagayan de Oro City Emano was also governor of Misamis Oriental from 1987 to 1998. In 2019, he was aiming to become mayor again, after serving from 1998 to 2007 and from 2010 to 2013. Rappler file photo"> Vicente Emano Nestor Espenilla, 60 Governor, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Espenilla rose through the ranks in the BSP, starting as a debt analyst in 1982 until becoming the head of the central bank in 2017. Rappler photo READ: The humble 'bad cop': Philippines remembers BSP chief Espenilla"> Nestor Espenilla Nestor Fongwan, 68 Representative, Benguet Fongwan entered politics in 1988 in Benguet's capital La Trinidad, serving as councilor, then vice mayor, and mayor. He later served as provincial governor from 2007 to 2016, before his election to Congress in 2019. Photo from House of Representatives website"> Nestor Fongwan Rodolfo Francisco, 96 Actor Francisco was the iconic forgetful lolo in a '90s McDonald's commercial. He was a Sampaguita Pictures actor in the early 1950s, then became the film production's legal counsel until his retirement. Photo from Instagram/Karen delos Reyes"> Rodolfo Francisco Amalia Fuentes, 79 Actress Considered among the country's most beautiful actresses, Fuentes earned the title "Elizabeth Taylor of the Philippines" because of her resemblance to the Hollywood actress. Photo from Facebook/Alfonso Martinez READ: LOOK BACK: Amalia Fuentes, Philippine Movie Queen"> Amalia Fuentes Eddie Garcia, 90 Actor The award-winning actor was a stalwart of the local film and TV industry. Throughout his career, Garcia was known for his versatility, refusing to be typecast into any role. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler READ: 'Paalam Manoy': Co-stars, friends, fans pay tribute to Eddie Garcia | 'Bravo': Family, friends celebrate Eddie Garcia’s curtain call"> Eddie Garcia Romeo Gido, 57 Runner Gido was part of the squad known as the "Bicol Express" who broke the record in the 4x400m relay in the 1985 Southeast Asian Games. Photo from Marlon Pagalilauan"> Romeo Gido Elizabeth Gokongwei, 85 Philanthropist Gokongwei, the "heart and soul" of the Gokongwei family, is a member of the board of trustees of Gokongwei Brothers Foundation, focusing on projects helping underprivileged youth. She died a week after the death of her husband, tycoon John Gokongwei Jr. Photo from Gokongwei's Facebook"> Elizabeth Gokongwei John Gokongwei Jr, 93 Businessman Gokongwei was born wealthy, but he had to start from scratch after his family lost what they had. He soon built the Gokongwei Group of Companies, one of the most diversified conglomerates in the Philippines. Photo by Alecs Ongal/Rappler READ: How John Gokongwei built his empire from selling peanuts"> John Gokongwei Jr Edgardo Gomez, 81 National Scientist Gomez pioneered research on the state of coral reefs on a national scale, and sparked worldwide conservation efforts. Photo from DOST"> Edgardo Gomez Jose Mari Gonzalez, 80 Actor and former congressman, San Juan City Gonzalez was one of the top matinee idols of the 1960s. He served as San Juan congressman from 1998 to 2001. Photo from Facebook/Cristina Gonzalez Romualdez/Sampaguita Pictures"> Jose Mari Gonzalez Antonio Guidotti, 78 Basketball and football player Guidotti led the Ateneo basketball team to victory in the 1961 National Collegiate Athletic Association championship, and represented the country in football in the 1962 Asian Games."> Antonio Guidotti Cesar Hernando, 73 Production designer and director Hernando did the production design for films such as Mike de Leon's Citizen Jake, Batch '81, and Sister Stella L; Raymond Red's Bayani; and Lav Diaz's Batang West Side. Photo from Facebook/CitizenJakeFilm"> Cesar Hernando George Hofer, 80 Former governor, Zamboanga Sibugay Hofer was Zamboanga Sibugay's first governor when it became a province in 2001. He served for 3 terms until 2010. Photo from"> George Hofer Ghazali Jaafar, 75 Chairman, Bangsamoro Transition Commission Jaafar headed the body that crafted the Bangsamoro Organic Law. He was also the was first vice chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler READ: 'It's like a hero's burial': Thousands attend MILF leader's funeral"> Ghazali Jaafar April Love Jordan, 31 Beauty queen Jordan's pageant career included stints in Binibining Pilipinas 2009 and Mutya ng Pilipinas, a 3rd princess finish in Miss World Philippines 2012, and a win in the International Beauty & Model Festival 2009. Photo from Norman Tinio"> April Love Jordan Mark Joseph, 56 Swimmer and league official Joseph was the former head of Philippine Swimming Inc, which sent Filipino swimmers to international competitions. Photo from Joseph's Facebook"> Mark Joseph Kristofer King, 36 Indie film actor Born Christopher Reyes, King appeared in independent films, such as Masahista, Foster Child, and Tirador, all directed by Brillante Mendoza. Photo from Facebook/Brillante Mendoza"> Kristofer King Liberato "Levy" Laus, 68 Businessman Laus, chairman of Laus Group of Companies and a former president of the Clark Development Corporation, died in a helicopter crash in Bulacan."> Liberato "Levy" Laus Lyndon Lee Suy, 55 Assistant Secretary, Department of Health Lee Suy also served as spokesman for the health department, where he had worked from 2002 until his death. Photo from DOH website"> Lyndon Lee Suy Lito Legaspi, 77 Actor The veteran actor started as a 1960s matinee idol, and subsequently took on various roles in film and television."> Lito Legaspi Benjamin Lim, 66 Former mayor, Dagupan City, Pangasinan Lim owned a chain of malls in Pangasinan before becoming the province's 4th district congressman in 1998, then Dagupan's mayor from 2001 to 2007 and from 2010 to 2013."> Benjamin Lim Gary Lising, 78 Actor and comedian Lising specialized in "green" jokes, and was part of the hit 1980s comedy gag show Champoy. Photo from Facebook"> Gary Lising Gina Lopez, 65 Former secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources The feisty anti-mining advocate and former ABS-CBN Foundation head served as President Rodrigo Duterte’s first environment secretary for 10 months. Photo from Lopez's Facebook READ: What drives Gina Lopez? | [OPINION] 'Never feel small': What I learned as Gina Lopez's executive assistant"> Gina Lopez Sister Cresencia Lucero, 77 Nun and human rights advocate Among her peers, Sister Lucero is known as the "Grand Dame" of the human rights community."> Sister Cresencia Lucero Rene Lumawag, 74 Photographer Lumawag photographed President Rodrigo Duterte for most of his political career, spanning almost 3 decades. Photo by Jes Aznar"> Rene Lumawag Teresita Ojeda Luz, 89 Art patron Luz is a former board member of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Photo from CCP website"> Teresita Ojeda Luz Tony Mabesa, 84 Theater and film actor Mabesa directed and acted in hundreds of plays and films, most recently in the movie Rainbow's Sunset, where he played the late Eddie Garcia's lover, a role for which he received the MMFF Best Supporting Actor award. Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler"> Tony Mabesa Jacqui Magno, 65 Jazz singer Magno was part of The Circus Band, along with Basil Valdez, Hajji Alejandro, Tillie Moreno, and Pat Castillo in the 1970s. Photo from Facebook"> Jacqui Magno Francisco Mañosa, 88 National Artist for Architecture Mañosa was known as the "Father of Philippine Neo-vernacular Architecture" and the architect behind iconic structures such as the Coconut Palace and the EDSA Shrine. Photo from Cultural Center of the Philippines"> Francisco Mañosa Mariano Marcos II, 64 Board member and 2019 vice gubernatorial candidate, Ilocos Norte Marcos is the son of the late Pacifico Marcos, brother of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos. He was provincial board member of Ilocos Norte for 3 terms, from 2004 to 2013, and returned in 2016. Photo from Facebook"> Mariano Marcos II Ferdie Marquez Band member, Truefaith Marquez was among the founding members of the band Truefaith, formed in 1992. Photo from Marquez's Facebook"> Ferdie Marquez Sylvia Mayuga, 77 Writer and activist Mayuga published several books like Spy In My Own Country; Earth, Fire, and Air; and Between the Centuries. She has 3 National Book Awards to her name, and waged battles for the environment and against fascism. Photo from Mayuga's Facebook. READ: IN MEMORIAM: Writer, activist Sylvia Mayuga"> Sylvia Mayuga Mona Lisa, 97 Actress Born Gloria Lerma Yatco, the actress was best known for her role in Insiang, for which she won the Best Actress Award from Gaward Urian and FAMAS. Screenshot from YouTube/CarlottaFilms"> Mona Lisa Nelson Navarro, 71 Columnist and author Navarro opposed the Marcos regime, which got him implicated in the 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing, despite him being in the United States for studies at the time. He later became a columnist for various newspapers."> Nelson Navarro Cathy Nazareno, 49 Former football commissioner In 2009, Nazareno was named the Women's Match Commissioner of the Year by the Asian Football Confederation, the only Filipino to ever win the award. Photo from Nazareno's Facebook"> Cathy Nazareno Prospero Nograles Jr, 71 Former Speaker, House of Representatives Nograles, who represented Davao City in Congress, served as House Speaker from 2008 to 2010, the first from Mindanao to do so. Photo from Nograles' Facebook"> Prospero Nograles Jr Jose "Pepe" Ong, 78 Businessman Ong and wife Corazon founded CDO Foodsphere, known for its sausages, hams, bacon, hamburger patties, and tuna. Photo from CDO Foodsphere's Facebook"> Pepe Ong Clinton Palanca, 45 Writer Palanca won many Palanca Awards for his short stories and essays, and was also a food writer. Photo from Facebook/Lourdes Gordolan"> Clinton Palanca Mico Palanca, 41 Actor Palanca was known for appearing in ABS-CBN shows It Might Be You and Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay. Photo from Instagram/@mico_palanca"> Mico Palanca Nes Pamilar, 52 Volleyball coach He steered the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws to their 29th UAAP women's volleyball championship in 2008. Photo from Richard Esguerra/UAAP Season 74"> Nes Pamilar Susan Papa, 64 Swimmer and league official Papa once headed the Philippine Swimming League and devoted her time to coaching Filipino swimmers across the country, despite a feud with Philippine Swimming Incorporated. Photo from First Tier Media"> Susan Papa Jojit Paredes, 68 Singer and actor Paredes was a 1970s matinee idol best known for his cover of Daniel Boone's "Beautiful Sunday.""> Jojit Paredes Lope Pascual, 84 Football team manager Pascual was the manager of the Air Force football team that dethroned San Miguel Corporation as the strongest team in the land in 1977. Contributed photo"> Lope Pascual Claro Pellosis, 84 Track and field coach Pellosis helped steer star runner Lydia de Vega to the 1986 Asian Games 100 meters title. He was a runner himself, part of the 4x100 meters relay squad that won in the 1962 Asian Games. Photo from Facebook/Ojon Artiaga"> Claro Pellosis Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr, 85 Former Senate President A lawyer and staunch opponent of the Marcos regime, Pimentel was hailed as a stalwart of Philippine politics and democracy, and considered as the "father" of the Local Government Code of 1991. He served in the Senate from 1987 to 1992, and from 1998 to 2010. He was Senate President from November 2000 to June 2001. Photo by Alex Nueva Espana/PRIB READ: Nene Pimentel: Courageous stalwart of democracy"> Aquilino Pimentel Jr Rafael Poliquit, 30 Marathon runner Before his passing, Poliquit won the 2018 Milo Marathon and was the country's marathon bet for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Rappler file photo"> Rafael Poliquit Rosalita Sayoc Prospero, 56 Philippine Consul General, Toronto, Canada Prospero served as consul general in Toronto since May 2015, and had been posted in Sydney, Australia, and Paris, France. Photo from DFA"> Rosalita Sayoc Prospero Leonardo Quisumbing, 79 Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Appointed by President Fidel Ramos, Quisumbing served in the High Court from 1998 to 2009. Photo from Supreme Court"> Leonardo Quisumbing Isah Red, 67 Entertainment news editor and writer Red was an entertainment columnist at The Daily Tribune prior to his passing. Isah had also been the entertainment editor for the Manila Standard. Photo from Red's Facebook"> Isah Red Teodoro Regala, 85 Lawyer Regala was one of the founding partners of the law firm ACCRALAW. Photo from ACCRALAW"> Teodoro Regala Carmencita Reyes, 87 Governor, Marinduque Reyes was a long-time governor and congressman of Marinduque. She was in the 3rd and last term of her 2nd stint as governor when she passed away. Photo from Wikimedia Commons"> Carmencita Reyes Jojo Robles, 57 Journalist The Manila Times columnist was previously the editor-in-chief of The Manila Standard."> Jojo Robles Pastor "Boy" Saycon, 69 Political operator Saycon was one of the original supporters and tacticians of Fidel V. Ramos, who ran for president and won in 1992. Under Duterte, he was appointed a member of the EDSA People Power Commission. Photo from Malacanang"> Pastor "Boy" Saycon Rodolfo Severino Jr, 82 Former ASEAN secretay-general Severino is an esteemed former ambassador and foreign affairs undersecretary. He was the secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from 1998 to 2002. READ: Ambassador Rod Severino: The complete diplomat, even at home"> Rodolfo Severino Jr Armida Siguion-Reyna, 88 Actress and singer The award-winning actress was known for her long-running musical show Aawitan Kita. Armida's family is also in the entertainment industry. Son Carlos Siguion-Reyna is a film director, while her grandchildren, Cris Villonco and Rafa Siguion-Reyna, are active in theater and television. Photo from Instagram/@crisvillonco READ: LOOK BACK: The movies and music of Armida Siguion-Reyna"> Armida Siguion-Reyna Pepe Smith, 71 Singer and rock icon The legendary rocker is part of the Juan dela Cruz band, behind the hits, such as "Beep Beep" and "Himig Natin." Photo by Luis Liwanag/Rappler"> Pepe Smith Henry Sy, 94 Businessman A Chinese migrant, Sy had a classic rags-to-riches story. He founded Shoe Mart, which grew into the Philippines' largest retailer. Sy topped the list of Forbes' richest billionaires for 11 years in a row, from 2008 to 2018. Photo from Forbes READ: FAST FACTS: Remembering Henry Sy Sr"> Henry Sy Benjamin "Benjie" Tan, 60 Engineer Tan is the engineer who connected the Philippines to the internet in March 1994. Screenshot from DICT video"> Benjamin "Benjie" Tan Lucio "Bong" Tan Jr, 53 Businessman The son and namesake of tycoon Lucio Tan, Bong had just become PAL Holdings president and chief operating officer weeks prior to his death. Photo from Philippine National Bank"> Lucio "Bong" Tan Jr Milagrosa Tan, 61 Governor, Samar Tan, the matriarch of Samar's political dynasty, was the province's first female governor. She also served as congresswoman of Samar's 2nd district from 2010 to 2019. Photo from Darren Langit/Rappler"> Milagrosa Tan Teodulo Topacio, 94 National Scientist Topacio is known for his contributions to the fields of animal production and animal health in the country. Photo from"> Teodulo Topacio Mark Joseph Ubalde, 33 Journalist and social media consultant Ubalde started as a GMA News Online news producer, became a researcher for VERA Files, then held multiple roles in News5. He left the media in 2017 to become a consultant for some government agencies."> Mark Joseph Ubalde Willibaldo "Willie" Uy, 59 Businessman Uy was the president and chief executive officer of listed property firm 8990 Holdings. Photo from 8990 Holdings"> Willie Uy Brian Velasco, 41 Drummer, Razorback Velasco is the drummer of iconic Filipino rock band Razorback. Photo from Razorback's Facebook"> Brian Velasco Augusto Victa, 87 Radio drama actor Victa was dubbed the "greatest radio drama actor of all time" by DZRH. He also appeared in some teleseryes. Photo from Facebook/Agnes Hilario"> Augusto Victa Victor Vincent Villavicencio, 67 Businessman and restaurateur Villavicencio founded restaurants like Dad's World Buffet, Saisaki, and Sambo Kojin."> Victor Vincent Villavicencio Joel Virador, 52 Former representative, Bayan Muna party list Virador served in the House of Representatives from 2004 to 2007."> Joel Virador Sari Yap, 57 Magazine founder Yap founded Mega magazine, which later grew into the magazine empire One Mega Group Incorporated. Photo from Yap's Facebook"> Sari Yap 

Michael Bueza

Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.