GMA News reporter and film director Cesar Apolinario passed away today from lymphoma. He was 46.
Fellow journalist and friend Mell Navarro shared Apolinario’s passing on Facebook, saying that the veteran newsman had “peacefully joined our Creator. According to his close friends, he’s been critical since last Wednesday, December 11,” she wrote. According to reports by PEP, Apolinario was diagnosed with lymphoma only this August.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our Kapuso (one at heart), Cesar Apolinario, Jr., who peacefully joined his Creator today,” GMA Network said in a statement. “An award-winning broadcast journalist, writer, and director, Cesar will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues, especially those in GMA News and Public Affairs and in the film industry, where he devoted the best years of his life.”
Apolinario was a household name and one of the more recognizable faces in the country’s news television scene, reporting for GMA News’ primetime shows 24 Oras (“24 Hours”), and Saksi (“Witness”). He’s also hosted TV documentaries iJuander and Reporter’s Notebook, among others. His documentary on the 2000 Payatas dumpsite tragedy — which killed hundreds of families after a typhoon caused an avalanche of garbage to crash onto them—was entered by the network into international film festivals. At the 2001 Hawaii Film Festival, it was up against the Liam Neeson-narrated documentary Arctic Circle, which cost millions to make, whereas Apolinario’s film reportedly only cost PHP10,000.
The veteran journalist had stints as a cameraman, and also directed independent films like 2008’s action-drama Banal (“Holy”), and Puntod (“Tomb”) which won Indie Movie of the Year at the 2009 Philippine Movie Press Club Star Awards. He also co-directed the 2013 prison drama Dance of the Steel Bars.
“Rest well, Direk Cesar, and thanks for the friendship,” his colleague Navarro said on Facebook, “Our deepest sympathy to the family and relatives. You will be certainly missed by your peers and the public you have well served by bringing us the news on our television sets.
Over on Twitter, fellow GMA News reporter Steve Dailisan said, “Rest in peace, mentor and colleague. No more pain, just love and lasting happiness in the arms of God,” he said.
Rest in PEACE, mentor and colleague @CesarApolinario. No more pain just LOVE and lasting happiness in the arms of God.
— Steeeve Dailisan (@stevefdailisan) December 13, 2019
News presenter Raffy Tima, meanwhile, mourned Apolinario’s passing saying, “He was more than a colleague, he was a friend. There are no words. Godspeed and rest in peace”
— Raffy Tima (@raffytima) December 13, 2019
The network added, “his dedication to his craft as a news reporter, producer, and public affairs host will continue to serve as an inspiration to all. We join his entire family and loved ones in praying for his eternal repose.”
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