‘Ricky’: The man with several hats
Roderic “Ricky” Rama-Poca was many things to many people whose lives he had touched.
For his former students at the University of San Carlos (USC), where he taught under the Department of Political Science from 1993 to 2015, he was a father, supporter and mentor rolled into one.
“He was one of my favorite teachers of all-time. He was a kind man who was very intelligent, witty, and humorous. Our classes were always funny because he was always cracking jokes and sharing showbiz gossip that he learned from his cousin Annabelle Rama,” recalled Jan Ralph Perez, who was his student in Constitutional Law.
Perez, who was still a second year Accountancy student back then in 2002, is now a lawyer.
“Years after I graduated from college, he’s still very approachable and friendly to all his students, and willing to help us out with our projects,” he added.
Poca died at dawn yesterday due to cardiac arrest. He was 58 years old.
Mary Jane Alumbro, who had Poca as one of her teachers when she was still studying AB Political Science from 2003 to 2007, described her former teacher as funny and never boring.
“All of us agree, sir Poca was one of the best professors we ever had. So a lot of us are devastated by his passing,” she said.
Vince Cinches, another one of his students in Philippine Constitution also admired Poca’s support for activism when he allowed his students to join rallies in and out of the campus.
“Poca infused humor in his teaching and real life examples to draw further articulation on the provisions of the Constitution, which I think is effective as it laymanized our understanding and grasp of the very thing that governs our land and also showed the humanity of our laws,” he said.
Messages of grief and remembrance overflowed on social media from Poca’s students, minutes after they learned of their former teacher’s passing.
In his 22-year stint as a teacher in USC, Poca also became chairperson of the school’s Political Science Department from 2009 to 2013.
Poca, a newspaper columnist and broadcaster, is also better known as a proud member of Cebu’s Rama clan.
He graduated from AB Political Science at USC in 1980 and from the College of Law at the Ateneo de Manila University in 1984. He also completed a masters degree in Political Science at USC in 2011.
Poca’s weekly column “Think Bits” on Cebu Daily News was among the pioneering columns of the newspaper. He wrote for CDN from 1998 until December 19, a week before his death.
He also hosted the weekly 888 News Forum held at Marco Polo Plaza Hotel.
It was past 2 a.m., Tuesday, when Poca suffered a cardiac arrest while resting in his home at the Rama Compound in Barangay Basak San Nicolas.
He was rushed to Chong Hua Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival a few minutes before 4 a.m., after several efforts to revive him, according to his cousin former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who also lives in the compound.
“We are asking for prayers for the eternal repose of Ricky. I’d also like to take this opportunity so that all friends and relatives of the Rama, Limchiu, and Poca family be aware of his untimely demise,” Rama said.
Poca, a diabetic, has been on dialysis treatment for the past five years. He recently shifted to peritoneal dialysis.
Poca’s wake is being held at the Rama ancestral house inside the Rama Compound.
His remains will be laid to rest at the Cebu Memorial Park on Saturday, December 30 after a 10 a.m. Requiem Mass at the Redemptorist Church, said his younger sister, Consolacion.
Aside from his years as a professor and mediaman, Poca is also remembered for his help in setting up Museo Sugbo in 2008.
According to fellow CDN columnist and former Capitol consultant Jobers Bersales, Poca was instrumental in the establishment of Museo Sugbo during the time of former Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
“I began looking for objects and artifacts to fill the museum’s history galleries and Ricky came forward to show me the large memorabilia of his late grandfather Sen. Vicente Rama,” Bersales said in a Facebook post.
“He then linked me up with Ma’am Corazon Rama-Del Prado, the last surviving child of the late senator, who also generously offered the memorabilia to the museum without question. And so in just a few months the American and War galleries of Museo Sugbo were set up, thanks to Ricky and Ma’am Corazon,” said Bernales.
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