I just found out that my colleague VJ Rubio was brutally murdered last night. His car was found abandoned in San Mateo, Rizal and his body found elsewhere. As of this writing, his friends still don’t know much about his death.
VJ and I weren’t really close and my memories of him go back only when I was still with Silangan Shimbun, a newspaper for Pinoys in Japan. I hired him as a contributing writer and later on, a full-time writer.
He was a dependable writer. Everytime I’d assign a story, I knew he’d always deliver. When our publisher decided to get rid of our team (by closing down the original company and re-registering under a new name, we even filed a case against our publisher and won, but that’s another story), he retained VJ and made him the new Editor in Chief.
Though we didn’t see each other after that, we kept in touch. We texted often about writing rakets (hehe). Later, I found out that they’d also left the new Silangan since the publisher Mario Heriales hasn’t been paying them.
While browsing Facebook this morning, I found some people posting condolences on VJ’s site. I thought one of his family members died so I clicked on his site, thinking of posting my own condolences. It’s just shocking to find out that it was VJ who had died and learning, through his friends, that he’d been brutally murdered just makes it more unfathomable.
He was so young, so active as a writer. He had a great career ahead of him. He was only 28 years old and was, like me, threading between the worlds of literature and journalism.
Murders, for whatever reason, will never make any sense. And the murder of someone as vibrant and full of life as VJ makes it even harder to understand.