PALO, Leyte, Feb. 2, 2015 -– “The 44 heroes we now honor gave up their lives in order for millions of Filipinos to live in harmony, peace and prosperity. These men who have sacrificed their lives did not die in vain.”
This is how Palo Archbishop John Du recognized the forty-four members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) who perished in what Malacañan categorized as a “misencounter ” in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25.
In his homily in a requiem mass for three of the 44 fallen police officers held at the Regional Office of the PNP in Camp Ruperto Kangleon, the prelate described the death of the cops using Jesus’ words: “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (Jn 12:23).
He considered Police Officer 2 Noel Nebrida Balaca, PO2 Glenn Berecio Bedua, PO1 Mark Lory Orioque Clemencio and rest of the Fallen44 as heroes “because they never feared giving up everything including their most treasured life.”
Besides Balaca (Oras, Eastern Samar); Bedua (Dulag, Leyte); and Clemencio (Carigara), three more of the Fallen44 were natives of Eastern Visayas, namely, PO2 Rodel Eva Ramacula (Roosario, Northern Samar); PO1 Joseph Gumatay Sagonoy (Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar); and PO3 John Lloyd Rebamonte Sumbilla (Eastern Samar).
Ramacula’s remains were immediately brought to Northern Samar after arrival at the Tacloban Airport from Metro Manila, while Sogonoy’s were brought to Bataan. Balaca, Bedua and Clemencio’s bodies will lie in state for at least one night at the Regional PNP Office before being brought to their respective hometowns. (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros/CBCPNews)