VIRAC, Catanduanes: No heart remained strong, not even that of police generals, as people wept over the weekend when fallen Philippine National Police–Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) officer Max Jim Tria was laid to rest at a public cemetery in Barangay Palta, Virac town.
It was the saddest moments for the people of Catanduanes when the young and very promising Police Senior Insp. Max Jim Ramirez Tria—last man standing in Masasapano carnage—was finally laid to rest.
“For offering his young and promising life in the service of the Motherland; for laying his life so that others may live; and for courage under fire, he honored not only himself and his family but also generations of brave and noble men and women like him and after him,” read a part of the message given by Rep. Lenie Robredo.
Robredo, according to the message read by Senior Supt. Romulo Esteban, deputy director for operation, also conferred on Tria the highest award of honor that can be given by the PNP Regional Advisory Council.
Police Inspector Freddy Caballero, provincial jail administrator of Catanduanes and classmate of Tria, said during the eulogy that his fallen mistah was among the youngest in the Delta Company but was never daunted when he was appointed a battalion commander at a very young age.
“He is our clown in the Delta Company but a man who will sacrifice everything. He is the true strongman, physically, mentally and emotionally. He was intelligent. He outshined us [his classmates who had some college prior to admission in the academy],” Caballero recalled.
Police Insp. Albert Jefferson Relente, member of the PNP-SAF, recalled that he and Tria volunteered to become SAF troopers.
“Max Jim was destined to be a SAF trooper. We were together for 10 years in the academy, SAF trainings and operations. It’s our way of life to be ‘Tagapagligtas’ [Savior]. We we’re together in the Zamboanga siege,’ Relente said. Relente was trying to hold his tears in a long silence during the eulogy.
Tria is the commanding officer in Basilan, is due for promotion as chief inspector and about to take his airborne training with Relente in the next few months when pulled out of his unit to go after Marwan.
Chief Supt. Victor Deona, PNP Bicol regional director, said that Tria’s death is painful but stressed that as policemen they are duty bound to serve and protect the public at whatever cost.
He gave his snappiest salute to Tria during the necrological service over the weekend although the most touching moment was when General Deona handed over the folded flag draped in Tria’s coffin to grief-stricken father Police Senior Insp. Guillermo Tria, officer-in-charge of internal affairs service (IAS) unit of the PNP in Catanduanes.
Deona finally broke in tears when he handed over the flag to Tria’s father. The duo cried shoulder-to-shoulder before Mac-mac’s body was put in his final resting place.
Bishop Manolo de los Santos of the Diocese of Catanduanes said Tria is a real hero of this modern time for choosing death in pursuit of peace.
Tria was given the public accolade including Bicol Philippine National Police as well as by the Representatives in Bicol region or Bicol bloc. Since his remains arrived in Virac, hundreds of people have been flocking to the family’s house everyday to mourn with his family
On the day of his entombment, thousands of residents and students lined up in the streets as they joined the funeral march bringing with them streamers saying “we salute you, our hero.”