“PAPA, I promise you, I will become a lawyer. You will never be a mere statistic.”
These were Christine Claire’s farewell words to her father, the late P/Capt. Delfin Bontuyan, minutes before he was laid to rest at the Angelicum Garden of Angels in Mandaue City on Thursday, May 30, 2019.
In her eulogy, after a requiem mass at the San Isidro Parish Church in Barangay Talamban, Christine Claire proudly recalled the achievements of her father while he was still in service.
“I was and will always be proud of you. For the arrest of the person responsible for killing a photojournalist in 2004. For arresting the person who shot dead a former Bantay Dagat (chief) in 2006, and for fearlessly handling courts and criminal cases, and so much more. You never let your circumstances bend your principle, Papa. In the end, you are a fighter,” she said.
She then appealed to the authorities to uphold their mission: “To protect and to serve,” and do everything they can to deliver justice for her father.
“Ma’am and sirs, I call on you. Papa, you will not be a mere statistic. You will be given justice,” she added.
On the other hand, Mabolo Police Station Chief Dindo Juanito Alaras said they already sent a formal request to create a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) for Bontuyan’s case to the Cebu City Police Office late afternoon of May 29, 2019, Wednesday.
“From the start, a joint team was already working on his case. We are only doing this request to formalize the SITG,” he said.
The team include the Investigation, Detection and Management Branch of the Cebu City Police Office and the Mabolo Police Station.
According to Alaras, having an SITG would mean they can have regular case conferences already.
Around a thousand of Bontuyan’s family, relatives and friends, including outgoing Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, his wife outgoing Cebu City Councilor Margarita Osmeña, and Councilor Bebs Andales, attended the requiem mass and the burial rites.
Mourning friends and relatives of Bontuyan wore white shirts with the text: “No retreat. No surrender. Delfin Bontuyan 1964-2019.”
In his homily, Rev. Fr. Eduard Villaluna, family friend and the archdiocesan priest of San Vicente Ferrer Parish Church in Bogo City, recalled how noble Bontuyan’s job was.
“Di sayon ang magpolice. Sa pagpanerbisyo sa pagkapulis, naa ang paghalad sa kinabuhi alang sa katawhan. Kada adlaw duty, walay kasiguraduhan kung mubalik pa sa pamilya, ug mao nay nahitabo sa atong igsoon nga si Delfin. Mao na ang pinakadako nga gasa nga mahatag nato sa atong higala. How much he loves his service for the people, only God knows,” he said. (It is not easy to be a policeman. In the conduct of your service, your life is at stake for the people. Every day that you go out on duty, there is no certainty that you will return to your family. That is what happened to Delfin. That is our greatest gift we offer to our friend.)
Bontuyan was a long-time operative of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 before he was relieved in 2016 after he was tagged as one of the narco cops. He was assigned in Luzon before his last assignment in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Last May 21, four riding-in-tandem assassins gunned down Bontuyan while he was driving his motorcycle in the intersection near Mabolo Police Station. The 55-year-old Talamban native had just come from a court hearing when the attack happened.
Wearing a necklace with her father’s criminology class ring as pendant, Christine Claire said she felt fulfilled after her father was granted burial rites due to a member of the Philippine National Police.
“It’s very fulfilling because it kind of rewards his 31 years in public service. It solidifies or there’s some sort of display that depicts his service,” she said.
Ten members of the City Police Mobile Force Company gave Bontuyan a 21-gun salute, while nine police station chiefs from different Cebu City Police Stations served as pallbearers.
These include Police Lt. Joseph Mangle of Station 9, Police Lt. Michael Sevilla of Station 6, Police Lt. Pablito Saldo of Station 4, Police Lt. Carlos Narca of Station 3, Police Lt. Emmanuel Lumancas of Station 1, Police/Capt. Jonathan Tadeo of Station 8, Police Lt. Richard Serafin of Station 7 and Police Lt. Marciano Dela Piedrs Jr. of Station 8.