VIRAC, Catanduanes, Jan. 31 (PNA) -- Mistahs of Police Sr. Insp. Max Jim R. Tria, 27, could not hide the pain they felt inside as tears fell on their faces when they carried his coffin upon its arrival at the Virac airport.
The fallen hero was met by his family, his 20 mistahs currently assigned in the Bicol Region, government officials in Catanduanes, led by Governor Cely Wong, Philippine National Police provincial officials, led by Sr. Supt. Adel Castillo, relatives, friends and fellow Catandunganons here.
Tria and 43 other fellow commandos of the PNP-Special Action Force were killed in an open field in Barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano town in Maguindanao on Sunday by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.
The slain 44 elite PNP-SAF commandos were on a mission to serve warrants of arrest to international terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir alias "Marwan" and Basit Usman with USD 6-million bounty on their heads.
Tria's family did not wait for President Benigno Aquino III’s tribute to the fallen heroes and instead, opted to bring back his cadaver to their hometown in this island- province of Catanduanes.
He and the other fallen heroes were to receive medals and plaques of heroism from the President during the necrological services held Friday at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig where the SAF headquarters is located.
Police Sr. Insp. Guillermo G. Tria, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Internal Affairs Service of Catanduanes Provincial Police Office, brought home to Barangay Cabihian the body of their slain son on Friday morning through Cebu Pacific early morning flight here.
Tria’s body was carried on shoulder-to-shoulder by his mistahs, led by Police Sr. Insp. Jan King Calipay, current chief of police of Polangui town in Albay.
Calipay and 19 other mistahs belonging from Kaisang-Bisig Class 2009 of the Philippine National Police Academy on Wednesday afternoon sailed to Catanduanes to pay tribute to their fallen classmate.
Three of their mistahs -- Tria, PSI Gednat Tabdi and PSI Garry Erana, PNPA Class 2009 Baron -- were part of the PNP-SAF commandos who unfortunately lost their precious lives in the line of duty.
Calipay and his 19 batchmates shove their hair as they sought justice over the bloody carnage of their brothers in arms.
“We’re grieving for our mistahs and the rest of the troopers who perished in the bloody carnage. Our snappiest salute to our fallen brothers and heroes of Maguindanao carnage but we’re also seeking justice,” Calipay said.
The PNP in Bicol, headed by Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, PNP Bicol regional director, also expressed deep sorrow over the killing of the PNP-SAF men.
As the policemen were mourning, Deona called on his men not to be swept away by their emotion.
“My heart bleeds for the SAF troopers. I had been in the operation unit for so long. I personally saw the same incident with my own eyes and I know how it grieves their loved ones,” Deona said, adding “This might be very painful to us but we need to accept the fact. Emotions should not rule. Emotions must be contained and we must be guided by reasons.”
Even President Aquino's political ally and classmate, Albay Governor Joey Salceda, said the 44 fallen PNP-SAF heroes deserve justice.
“Many may disagree with me, but the issue here is justice for the victims of MILF brutality and betrayal. The constituency for peace has been decimated by the violence and can only be restored by justice,” Salceda said.
He said the people are deeply thankful to them.
"We, especially our youth, take inspiration from the moral courage they have demonstrated when they enforced the rule of law and secure social justice for our nation. Unmistakably, they proved that there is hope for the Philippines as a nation-state. The betrayal is despicable. Our dignity violated and our trust destroyed. Our sorrow is indescribable,” Salceda said.
He said the President should understand the Filipinos’ sentiment.
Some people around the President should understand that Filipinos love PNoy so much that they expect so much more in return. The medals, the burial expenses, the scholarships and all the other over-offered assistance lay like frills and furbelow in the calculus of mutual solicitude in period of massive grief,” Salceda said.
“They actually expect something simpler even if the President is capable of more since PNoy himself and his family had been through so much pain in their lives, thus, they expect he would be more capable of empathy -- those undefinable body of words and movements that speak of sincerity, flowing with no effort from the heart,” the Albay governor added.
The provincial government of Albay also provided Php 10,000 assistance each for the families of the fallen heroes in the Maguindanao carnage.
On Friday, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay, led Vice Gov. Harold Ong Imperial, approved the giving of Php10,000 financial assistance each to the bereaved families of the 44 PNP-SAF commandos who were slaughtered in cold blood, like sitting ducks, in broad daylight and in the open fields of Maguindanao with only cornstalks as their shield just as they were surrounded, outpowered and outnumbered.
As the Filipino people are grieving, the United States Embassy also expressed its heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the members of the PNP-SAF who lost their lives on Jan. 25.
In a statement released by the US Embassy, it said "the SAF units fought with bravery and demonstrated their commitment to ensuring peace and order in their country."
"The United States reiterates its support for the Philippine government’s efforts to combat international terrorism while promoting a just and lasting peaceful resolution to the conflict in Mindanao," it said.(PNA) RMA/FGS/RBB/CBD/pjn