Honors, aid continue to pour for fallen SAF 44

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FAREWELL HERO  Relatives, friends and policemen in Benguet carry the body of fallen Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) member PO2 Jerry Kayob from his residence in Central Balili, La Trinidad, Benguet to the Tawang Cemetery. PHOTO BY THOM F. PICAÑA

FAREWELL HERO
Relatives, friends and policemen in Benguet carry the body of fallen Philippine National Police – Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) member PO2 Jerry Kayob from his residence in Central Balili, La Trinidad, Benguet to the Tawang Cemetery. PHOTO BY THOM F. PICAÑA

MORONG, Bataan: The mother of fallen Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) member John Lloyd Sumbilla continued to cry for justice as his wife recalled that her husband had promised to return for their first baby.

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Sumbilla was one the 44 SAF commandos who died in a clash with Muslim separatist rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, last January 25.

In Iloilo, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) passed a resolution recognizing the SAF 44’s sacrifice and heroism while on a special operation to capture Zulkifli Bin Hir alias Marwan and Basit Usman in Mamasapano.

In Benguet, Mountain Province, the families of the 13 PNP-SAF members from the Cordillera Autonomous Region who were killed in the same incident will receive burial and cash assistance from the office of Baguio City Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr.

Also, in Sagada, Mountain Province, a police intelligence officer cheated death when members of the New People’s Army allegedly tried to ambush him on his way to Bontoc, also in the province, to secure the burial area for one of the fallen SAF 44.

In an interview with The Manila Times, the 62-year-old Telly Sumbilla cried for justice as she showed the back of her T-shirt with “Justice for the Fallen Heroes 44” printed.

According to the old woman,they still could not accept what happened, referring to the brutal killing and mutilation of some of the police commandos.

“It is so painful. They (SAF 44) were already dead and yet those people cut their hands, legs and private parts. I could not sleep. I could picture their gory state in my mind. Every dawn, I visit my son’s coffin and I would tell him that I will not stop in seeking justice,” she said in the vernacular.

Telly said her son got married only last December 23 to public school teacher Raechel Millado.

John Lloyd was with them in Pangasinan last Christmas and on New Year after the wedding ceremonies.

Raechel said John Lloyd told him at 8:31 p.m. of January 24 that he is going to put his phone on silent mode as he and other SAF men are going inside camp.

She added that the last words John told her was the promise of him going back for their baby.

It was on the same day that she told her husband that an ultra-sound scan test showed that they are soon going to have a baby girl.

“He laughed. He was overjoyed,” the wife said.

John Lloyd’s remains will be cremated on Thursday.

Raechel said one-half of the ashes will be left to her and the other half to Telly, who intends to bring it to Eastern Samar.

Iloilo Vice Governor Raul Tupas said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has approved giving P10,000 in cash assistance to the SAF 44 and P5,000 for the wounded 13 SAF members.

“The death of the young comrades in arms who are members of the PNP-SAF is really a great loss. This (assistance) is our gesture of solidarity in time of grief,” Tupas, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy who had rendered military service prior to becoming a politician, said.

He added that the bloody incident could further strengthen the SAF organization.

In Baguio, Joseph Cabato, executive assistant of Rep. Aliping, said they are coordinating with the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD–CAR) to speed up the preparation of death certificates and the claims of their relatives from the government.

Aliping earlier gave P50,000 in burial assistance to each family of the 13 Cordillera SAF members.

In separate interviews, DSWD–CAR Director Janet Armas said they were designated by the national DSWD office to conduct a psychosocial service to the families of the 13 Cordilleran policemen until they recover from their loss.

Acting Baguio City Police chief Rolando Miranda also committed the presence of Honor Guards during the vigil and pall bearers in the burial.

Meanwhile, a group of concerned citizens banded together and opened a bank account for the 13 PNP-SAF members’ families.

Of late, the bank account has a total of P51,700 deposited from as far as the US, Africa and Armenia.

The account is a joint one opened by Fr. Andres Cosalan Jr. (Catholic Church), Bishop Joel Pachao (Episcopal Church), Bishop Peter Mayyam (Evangelical Church) and lawyer Alexander Bangsoy.

It will be open for donations until March 2, 2015 and the amount accumulated in closing will be divided equally among the families of the 13 fallen Cordilleran SAF members.

In Sagada, Senior Police Officer 3 Wilfred Degay, an intelligence officer assigned at the Cordillera police headquarters in Camp Bado Dangwa, suffered four gunshot wounds on his right chest from purported assassins from the communist rebels last Monday.

Degay was reportedly instructed to prepare the burial site of PO3 Noel Golocan, a fallen SAF 44 member.

Golocan is to be buried in his native Bangaan, in northern Sagada.

Because of the incident, however, his body was brought instead to Bontoc, Mountain Province’s capital town.

Bangaan was a hotbed of communist insurgency in the late 1980s.

Cordillera Police Director Isagani Nerez said they will conduct an investigation and will pursue the alleged rebel attackers.

Nerez already sent orders to all provincial directors to tighten security in their areas of responsibilities to avoid any further movement of the Maoist rebels.

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