The families of the fallen Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who perished in Mamasapano, Maguindanao are not seeking to bury their loved ones at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office issued the statement over Radyo ng Bayan on Sunday in response to an idea pitched by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez who proposed a hero’s burial for the elite SAF men who died in the performance of their duty.
“I was there when the President [Benigno Aquino 3rd] was holding a dialogue with the bereaved family members and that issue [hero’s burial] was not discussed because they have their own burial plans for their loved ones,” Coloma said.
Romualdez earlier said that the 44 SAF commandos killed in Maguindanao definitely have their own place at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
“They deserve to be buried at our heroes’ cemetery. While the burial site is the final resting place of military personnel, President Aquino, Congress and the secretary of the Department of National Defense can authorize the burial of policemen there,” Romualdez, a lawyer and president of the Philippine Constitution Association, said.
Coloma agreed with Romualdez that the 44 SAF commandos died as heroes. But he explained that their family members have their own burial plans that need to be respected.
The grieving families, according to Coloma, are preparing to bury their dead in their respective hometowns to give relatives and friends a chance to pay them a visit anytime they want.