KAWIT, Cavite, Philippines—Carissa Camigan regretted that she didn’t push enough to have Michaella Andrea Caimol, 7, with her family during the holidays.
“If only she stayed with us, she would still be alive,” Camigan said Saturday as she held out a new, white dress she had bought for her granddaughter.
“At least, for the last time, she’d be wearing something nice,” she said.
Michaella, 7, a tricycle driver’s daughter, was one of the victims in the shooting spree of drug-crazed Ronald Bae on Friday morning.
Her siblings, Ken Cedric, 3, and KC, 2, survived but remained confined with gunshot wounds in the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.
The Caimols, except for the children’s parents who are in the hospital, were gathered in their tumbledown shanties as they prepared for Michaella’s wake.
They planned to hold the wake on a vacant lot in the neighborhood, because “our home is too small,” said their aunt Maita Lacorte.
The family believed Michaella’s wake was the only one for the shooting victims that had not been set up as of Saturday noon because the funeral home in town had run out of coffins and there was none for the girl.
The bodies of two-month pregnant Rhea de Vera, 34, and her 3-year-old daughter, Jan Monica were taken to a relative’s home in Noveleta town, Cavite province, the neighbors said.
Camigan, who lives in Carmona town, Cavite, said Michaella had called her about spending Christmas vacation with her.
“She was telling me she’d still want to go to [Carmona] even after the New Year, but I don’t why [she didn’t],” Lacorte said.
Lacorte said she and seven others, including four children, fled their homes as Bae, a former barangay official, roamed the streets shooting people when she realized that the Caimol children were still in their house.
“But what could we do? We could not go back because [Bae] would come after us. I heard the shots and the children’s screams,” she said.
Lacorte said her group ran to a field and pleaded with residents in the subdivision there to let them in.
“As we ran, I covered the children with cogon and told them not to make any noise. They cried quietly,” she said.
The Caimol children’s other grandmother, Aniolina Caimol, said Michaella loved to dance and play with her siblings.
“We even had some sort of a Christmas party here where they danced a lot,” she said.
Not far from the Caimols was the wake for 43-year-old tricycle driver Boyet Toledo.
On Friday morning, Toledo took his wife Polcida, 38, a laundrywoman, to her job before driving back to Barangay Tabon I to drop off another passenger.
Witnesses said Toledo was about to buy cigarettes from a store when Bae saw and shot him in the leg.
“Some said he fell to the ground and the gunman fired a second shot to [Toledo’s] back,” Toledo’s cousin Candy del Mundo, 28, said.
The second bullet went through Toledo’s heart.
Toledo left behind two sons, aged 14 and 8. Polcida Toledo said her husband was sweet and caring and they called each other “sweetheart.”
“Our earnings were just enough for the family. Now that he’s gone, I don’t know what will happen to us,” she said.
“My cousin was a good man. We know, if he were here today, he’d not hold a grudge against [Bae]. But that’s hard for us to do,” Del Mundo said.