Maguindanao clash deprives 3 kids of a father

MAGUINDANAO. Members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Forces load bodies of police commandos into vehicles in Maguindanao, Philippines, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. (AP)

CEBU CITY -- Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Noel Gillamac delivered Wednesday sympathy letters to the widows of PO1 Windel Candano and PO1 Romeo Cempron, who were among Special Action Force (SAF) commandos slain last Sunday in Maguindanao.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) will also give a letter expressing sympathy to the family of PO3 Junrel Kibete, who also died during the same encounter with Muslim rebels. Kibete left three children who live with their mother in Barangay Poblacion, Argao, Cebu.

The letters signed by PNP Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina were received by Candano’s wife Michelle, who works at the Cebu Central Post Office in Cebu City, and Cempron's wife Christine, a pediatrician in Barangay Tayud, Consolacion.

The letter addressed to Michelle states: “No words could alleviate the pain of losing a loved one but I hope you take solace in knowing that Police Officer 1 Candano offered the utmost sacrifice and died as a brave SAF trooper in service of his country as a hero. We in the PNP honor him not only as a guardian of our liberty but also as a true embodiment of a professional law enforcer.”

Radio dyLA reported that Kibete’s eldest, Princess Urielle, texted the SAF trooper a day before the Maguindanao encounter to remind him about her 11th birthday on Saturday.

The girl did not get a reply and later learned from her aunt that Kibete had died.

No gift

“I cried,” Princess Urielle told dyLA. She said that she asked her father to surprise her with a gift on her birthday.

Kibete, a native of Sta. Catalina in Negros Oriental, continued to support his children although he got separated to their mother, Irene Gealon, in 2012.

Gealon said that Kibete was a responsible father and never forgot to send money for the children every 15th and 30th of the month.

Kibete’s children will be flying to Manila today, January 29, to visit their father's wake in Meycauayan, Bulacan.

Gillamac said the families of Candano and Cempron were planning to leave for Manila Wednesday night. He said that he assigned police officers to take care of the needs of the slain police officers’ families.

“I hope justice will be served,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) alumni organization asked legislators to reject the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“The so-called BBL suffers constitutional and legal infirmities and should be rejected. Otherwise, the worse or worst is yet to come,” the petition of PMA Cebu Squad Inc. states.

Lawyer Rameses Villagonzalo, the group's counsel, said the bill does not mention the Constitution.

“Thus, the BBL is supreme on its own, which is a manifestation that the Bangsamoro (will be) an independent state,” the PMA Cebu Squad’s petition states. (KAL/With JKV/Sun.Star Cebu)
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