SAF man’s widow begs Aquino for justice for husband, comrades
“To our President, we seek your help to attain justice. Please, sir President. Please help us.”
This was the tearful plea of Erica Pabalinas, wife of slain Senior Insp. Ryan Pabalinas, to President Benigno Aquino 3rd during the necrological rites in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City (Metro Manila) on Friday.
“Slowly, I accept that my husband can’t be with us anymore,” Erica said, adding that she consoles herself with the thought that her husband “died a hero.”
But, she added, “All I ask now is justice. Not only for my husband [who]was brutally killed but for everyone who fought and fell.”
The 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos were killed by separatist rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and its breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters during an operation to hunt down “high-value targets” and terror suspects Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Basit Usman.
The widow asked the public not to put in their mind that her husband and the other SAF commandos joined the operation “because of the tag price on top of the heads of the lawless elements.”
“Because if [the police officers did so]just for that, we could have been richer.
Because I know for a fact that my husband has been through the same situation a lot [of times],” she said.
Erica, who hails from Isabela, Basilan, recalled that on the day her husband left their house for the last time, she and their daughter asked him not to go to the Mamasapano (Maguindanao) operation.
Their daughter, she said, worried that her “Daddy” might end up being caught by the “bad guys.”
But, to her pleas, according to Erica, “He replied, “Mommy, ayan ka na naman. hindi mo na naman naiintindihan [Mommy, there you go again, you still don’t understand],” and then bade them goodbye.
“It is a clear manifestation that my husband has put duty first before family. And I understand,” she said.
Meanwhile, Erica urged other widows to remain strong for the sake of their families.
“Behind every brave SAF trooper is a strong wife,” she said.