Brother of slain cop in NPA ambush pleads for peace, justice

Tuguegarao City, Feb. 3– Though unable to conceal the grief in his voice, Reynaldo has been trying his best to be strong for the three children of his brother who died in an ambush staged by the New People’s Army (NPA) in a remote village in Cagayan.

After the gruesome waylay that left Police Senior Inspector Antonino Rueco, his wife SPO2 Maryann Rueco and nephew SPO1 Erminio Rueco, along with two others dead on the afternoon of January 23, Reynaldo and some relatives are faced not only with anguish from the loss, but the burden of providing for the needs of the orphaned kids.
“Iniisip pa rin namin kung paano namin matutugunan ang kanilang mga pangangailangan (We are still thinking of how to fend for their needs),” he stated during a phone patch interview with Anthony Taberna on Umagang Kay Ganda over ABS-CBN on Wednesday.

The children’s parents and the other victims were en route to the regional police headquarters at Camp Adduru in Tuguegarao City when a landmine exploded into their vehicle’s path. Other fatalities included PO2 Jose Baquiran and PO1 Joven Jimenez. Wounded was SPO4 Edison Lagua.

According to Reynaldo, the three minors, with ages ranging from 11 to 16, are under the care of their relatives.

Helping them cope up with the tragedy, he would explain to the children that this is one of the inevitable realities in the life of a police officer.

“Ang sabi ko po sa kanila dapat ay tanggapin natin. Sama-sama na lang natin tanggapin na ganun talaga ang nangyari sa kanila (I told them that we should accept it. Let’s all learn to accept that this really happened to them),” he said tearfully.

Nothing can bring his brother, sister-in-law and nephew’s lives back, but Reynaldo only wished that peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF), the political wing of the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), will find a lasting solution to the armed conflict that hounded the country for decades.

“Tayo ay mga kapwa Pilipino na naghahanap ng kapayapaan (We are all Filipinos who long for peace),” he stated.

Reynaldo can only hope that the upcoming formal talks between the two parties this month in Oslo, Norway will bring about positive results.

“Kung hindi magtatagumpay ang usapang pangkapayapaan, dadami at dadami rin ang mga inosenteng tao na madadamay (If the peace talks do not succeed, more and more innocent people will be casualties),” he related.

Reynaldo said that he has put his trust in the government to bring justice to the victims and the perpetrators of the ambush.

“’Yun nga po ang aming hinihiling. Sa kanila na lang namin ipauubaya ang imbestigasyon (That is our wish. We will leave the investigation to them),” he said.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, who was likewise interviewed by Taberna via phone patch, extended her condolences to Reynaldo and the victims’ bereaved family.

She assured him that the government will give the necessary support to the three orphaned children to secure their future.

Deles felt saddened by the fact that countless lives have been lost in this senseless war.

“Iyan ang malungkot sa tuluyang paglalabanan na ito dahil mataas talaga ang human cost (That’s the sad reality in this persistent war because the human cost is truly high),” she stated.


Deles stressed that one cannot discount the lives of the combatants or the security forces whose lives are at stake.


“Di mo naman masasabi na combatants lang. Itong mga combatants ay may mga pamilya at mga communities. Kaya nga ang gobyerno ay sinisikap na matigil na lahat ng mga armadong hidwaan na nangyayari sa bansa (You cannot say that they are just combatants. These combatants also have families and communities. That’s why the government perseveres to end all armed conflicts happening in the country),” she said.


The peace adviser thanked Reynaldo for showing acceptance and courage in this tragic loss. She also expressed gratitude for his support to the peace process.


“Ipapaabot ko ito sa ating panel. Palagay ko ‘yan ang lalong magpapatatag sa kanilang pagpupursige na makamit natin ang kapayapaan (I will convey this to our panel. I think this will all the more strengthen their resolve to achieve peace),” Deles stated.#


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