SAF men given heroes welcome in provinces

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The bodies of the fallen Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) were given heroes welcome as they are brought back to their hometowns in Ilocos Norte and Catanduanes provinces.

This as the family of Police Senior Insp. Max Jim Tria did not even wait for the necrological service headed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in Camp Bagong Diwa yesterday. (see related story)

Tria is among the 44 SAF men who are now considered as heroes after they were “brutally massacred” in Mamasapano, Maguindanao province on January 25.

In Laoag City, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos led a memorial mass Friday morning in honor of PO2 Omar Nacionales, who hails from Luna, La Union. Marcos said her province is also honoring Nacionales as his roots can be traced to Barangay Escoda, Marcos town, Ilocos Norte province.


The 28-year-old Nacionales is also among the “fallen heroes” in the weekend massacre.

In an exclusive interview with The Manila Times, Dominador Nacionales, the 68-year-old father of PO2 Nacionales said the statements issued so far by the government officers and Moro Islamic Liberation Front leaders could not simply be believed in.

He, like the rest of those who lost their love ones in the Maguindanao carnage, cried  for justice.

The SAF was set to serve a warrant of arrest for wanted international terrorist and bomb expert Zulkipli Bin Hir, alias Marwan, and his Filipino counterpart, Basit Usman. They were said to be hiding in the lair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and its splinter group, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

“If peace is being discussed here by both panels, why then did the MILF not lay their arms?” Dominador asked.

Omar is the second among Dominador and wife Florencia’s four children. He graduated with a degree in Banking and Finance at the Baguio Colleges Foundation before passing the PNP entrance and qualifying examinations.

Omar’s widow, PO2 Gae Ann Guiniling, described him as kind, strict, caring and responsible.

“This is another very difficult time for the family as I hadn’t coped yet with the loss of our twins in July last year,” Guiniling said, referring to the death of their twin children.

In Baguio City, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance said in a statement that they simply cannot accept Aquinos usual “blame game” as a means of covering up for his shortcomings.

“We express total dismay on President Aquino’s statement over this tragedy, which was [made]simply to cover up his accountability as Commander-in-Chief. Aquino should be held accountable for the failed operation. There are no excuses for Aquino,”

Jude Baggo ,information officer of the CPA, said.

The group added that as Igorots and umili of the Cordillera, “we value life more than anything else. The lives of the 44 PNP-SAF, MILF and the civilians caught in the firefight including our 13 kakailian is too much prize for political and economic gain of top rank generals and the Commander-in-Chief.”

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