Tuesday July 17, 2018

Love letters for a dead soldier

ILIGAN CITY -- She did not expect her lovechild to be born sooner. But on September 16, a Saturday, she went into labor after learning that her boyfriend and father of her baby, an Army soldier, was killed while fighting extremists in Marawi City.

The 28-year-old mother said she heard her baby wail but five minutes later, the baby girl, too, expired.

The baby died three hours after her father, Corporal Jaime Invento, was killed in Marawi City’s main battle area.

Invento, a Scout Ranger, died after he was hit by enemy fire at the neck and head during Saturday’s assault on the city’s Bato Mosque and the Amaitul Islamiya Marawi Foundation (AIMF).

Four other soldiers were wounded-in-action.

“One of the wounded is in critical condition, he was evacuated to Cagayan de Oro City. I pray he can survive,” said a colleague who requested not to be named.

The main objective of Invento’s team was to get the Bato Mosque and the AIMF
Bato Mosque is one of the enemy’s three strongholds that fell to government control in the past days.

It was also where Fr. Chito Suganob, the Catholic priest kidnapped by extremists at the beginning of the fighting some four months ago, was subsequently rescued by soldiers.

Anne said her baby will be buried in Lala town, Lanao del Norte, her home town.

She will be accompanying Corporal Invento to Metro Manila where the soldier will be laid to rest.

While waiting for Invento’s remains to be transported to Manila, Anne sits beside the white casket, clutching the love letters Invento sent her and the letters she wrote in return . Two new t-shirts she bought as her present to Invento lie by her side.

In a letter dated June 29, 2017, she wrote her ‘dearest superman’ to tell the soldier that she missed him terribly.

“It’s been 36 days, 8 hours, 15 minutes and 36 seconds since you went away. I know you already get tired and weary. Hold on, Mahal, a little bit longer… and I love you so,” she wrote.

Anne said she wrote Invento one last letter following the soldier’s death.

“You have fought a good fight. It pains me more seeing you like this, but I’m letting you go now, have a safe journey, Daddy. Always remember that you will always be my best ‘assaulter’. You know how much I love you and I know how much you love me.”

Then she asked for the soldier’s forgiveness for being ‘not there ‘ when she said Invento needed her most.

To date, Corporal Invento is the 45th Scout Ranger to be killed-in-action in Marawi City.