Guingona bodyguards were ready to give up lives for mayor

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Mayor Ruth de Lara Guingona of Gingoog City INQUIRER PHOTO

GINGOOG CITY, Philippines — Cherry Mae Velasco sat quietly outside her grandmother’s house in Barangay 23 Gahub here. A faint smile was plastered on her face while she listened to her younger cousins exchange pleasantries.

Relatives of Cherry Mae described her as a “Papa’s girl,” who found it difficult to sleep at night when her father was still out working.

The 12-year-old girl is the youngest child of Bartolome “Tome” Velasco, 43, Mayor Ruth de Lara Guingona’s driver and bodyguard, who was killed when their convoy was attacked by the New People’s Army rebels, on Saturday night.

Bartolome’s younger brother, Nestor, also died in the clash. Another brother, Nelson, survived because he was assigned with the mayor’s daughter, Marie, whose vehicle was an hour ahead of the convoy.

Relatives of the Velasco brothers said that Tome, earlier identified by his other nickname “Tomas,” had been working as a driver-bodyguard of the mayor the past eight years. Nestor, on the other hand, had been employed by the mayor’s office for a month.

Rosalie, youngest sister of the victims, said the siblings would always help out each other, especially during times when one of them needed work. It was Nelson who recommended Tome and Nestor to the mayor’s office.

“My brothers were very good persons. We are a simple family but we were very close…whenever I came to visit, they were always excited and happy,” she said.

She said that while preparing for the mayor’s engagement last Saturday evening, Nelson told Tome that he had a bad feeling about their trip. Tome, however, told his brother that they should just pray for the group’s safety.

Tome also told Nelson that if the so-called “bad feelings” were true, he would protect the mayor at all cost.

On the way back to the city, the mayor’s convoy was attacked by NPA rebels. There were reports that the mayor was found alive under the bodies of Tome and Nestor.

The NPA-North Central Mindanao Regional Command has issued a statement, saying that Guingona’s convoy was the first to open fire at their checkpoint. The NPA also apologized to the Guingonas, the Velascos and the people of Gingoog City for the “unfortunate incident.”

“We offer our condolences and express our deepest sympathy for the bereaved families…we will exhaust all efforts to contact the families and extend our indemnification,” the statement said.

The Velascos were told of the brothers’ fate early Sunday morning, but it was Rosalie who went to the funeral home, as the wives of her brothers could still not accept what had happened.

She said Tome sustained several gunshot wounds, while Nestor only had a single wound in the head.

“When I was told that the mayor was found under their bodies, I could not help but think that they kept their promise to protect her…Tome had always said that he was ready to give up his life to the person who helps him feed his family,” she said.

The Velascos decided to have the wake at their parents’ house, just a stone’s throw away from where Tome and Nestor lived.

When the bodies of the Velasco brothers arrived at their parents’ house on Monday noon, Cristy Velasco, wife of Tome, could not look at her husband.

“Anak (child), go take a look at your father,” was all Cristy could say to her daughter.

“I want justice for my husband,” she said.

Josephine, Nestor’s wife, was crying while hugging her five children when the body of her husband was brought in.

Cherry Mae, sobbing, hugged her Uncle Nelson and could only say “Papa, Papa….”

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  • tanga_hanga_ni_abnoy

    Salot talaga yang mga NPA na yan..ang daming masasamang politiko e bakit di yan ang mga inuuna nyo?

  • Hunter421

    Look what you did NPA. How do you expect to change this country for the better when all you do is produce orphans?

    • joboni96

      r i p brave warriors

      mga kaka
      why not train your guns against
      sea/island grabbing intsik switiks and
      recolonizing u.s. imperialist forces in mindanao/palawan

      para makabawi kayo
      support the candidacy of the guingona daughter

  • speedstream2

    Two breadwinners slain. Who will now take care of their families?

  • jga94

    And I thought the slain men were military or police men–civilians pala talaga.And the gall of these NPA to insinuate it was the fault of the mayor’s party because they fired first….as if they had the right to put up blockades and carry arms….

  • Fulpol

    bodyguards ready to give up lives… yes, they supposed to that. it’s no joke to be a bodyguard in the Philippines…

    their heroism is serving their boss, not to their family..

    i just hate to remember the incident of former Mayor Robredo’s death in plane crash.. how come his bodyguard survived, while he succumbed in death..

    • iurqal

      no need to blame a person for being alive. besides, there’s a world of difference between protecting someone from bullets and from the impact of a plane crash

  • http://batman-news.com stupid chink

    Another lives lost because of the NPA’s ideology. And all they can say is sorry. They claim to be fighting for social justice yet when they mistakenly kill someone all they can do is say sorry!! Where’s the justice there?

  • Fulpol

    the excuse of NPA is the same excuses used by military and police…

    they fired first… like the incident of the death of biology professor in UP Diliman…

    the big question is: why did the NPA decide to ambush the wife of former Vice President and mother of incumbent Philippine Senator??

    will they do that to Imelda Marcos, the wife of Martial Law dictator??

    i wonder…

  • ConstructiveMediaCritics

    IN OUR OPINION IT IS SAD ON THE PART OF THE SLAIN PERSON FAMILIES AND LOVE ONES AND THE MAYORS CAMP…..THE SAID INCIDENT IN OUR OPINION IS THE MISTAKE OF THE MAYORS CAMP ON HAVING ARMED BODY GUARD IN CAMPAIGNING….

    IN LEGAL ARGUMENT IN THAT SCENARIO OR INCIDENT OUR COMELEC ARE PROHIBITING THE CANDIDATES AND THEIR BODY GUARD TO BRING GUN DURING CAMPAIGN HOW THE CAMP OF MAYOR VIOLATES THIS RULING OF COMELEC…….

    IN THE ARGUMENT RELATING TO FACING INSURGENTS POLICY ON THE CANDIDATES CAMPAINING IS ALMOST THE SAME AS THE LEGAL POLICY ON THE CAMPAIGN, GUNS IS PROHIBITED……..THE DIFFERENCE IS THE INSURGENT IS UNLEGAL AND THE MAYORS CAMP OR ANY PARTY COULD FIGHT THEM ANYTIME AS WHAT HAPPEN COULD WE TOLERATE THE CANDIDATES TO BRING GUN AND GIVE COMMENDATIONS OF WHAT HAPPEN FIGHTING ENEMY OF THE STATE OF INSURGENTS PARTICULAR NPA IT WILL RELY TO DISOBEDIENT ON THE POLICY THAT IS WHY THE ENCOUNTER HAPPENED……….

    THE MAYORS CAMP MUST ABIDE THE RULES OF GUN BAN OR NO CANDIDATES TO CAMPAIGN WITH GUNS TO AVOID ENCOUNTERS TO ANY……THE INSURGENT POLICY IS CLEAR AND IF THEY VIOLATE IT THEY WILL FACE PROBLEMS AND ALSO TO GOVERNMENT THE MAYORS CAMP WILL FACE PROBLEM ON VIOLATING GUN BAN……

    THIS IS ANOTHER ENFORCEMENTS FAILURE OF MAINTAINING PEACE IN ELECTIONS…. WHICH INSTEAD OF THEY ARE THE ONE PROHIBITING THE MAYORS CAMP BRINGING GUN DURING CAMPAIGN THE NPA IS THE ONE CHECK POINT THEM BUT UNFORTUNATELY THE MAYOR BODY GUARD FIRED AT THEM PROTECTING THEMSELVES FALSELY BECAUSE THEY BRING GUNS, IF THEY DON’T BRING GUNS THOSE NPA WILL NOT HURT THEM OR MAKE SELF DEFENSE…….IF THEY DON’T NEGOTIATE WITH NPA TENDENCY IS TO FIGHT THEM WITH THEIR GUNS PROHIBIT BY THE GOVERNMENT AND NPA….

    TO THOSE CANDIDATES AVOID OR DO NOT BRING GUNS IN ELECTIONS FOR PEACE IN THE COUNTRY WHICH THE GOVERNMENT AND THE NPA ARE THERE WHO WILL MAKE YOU HAVE A GOOD CONDUCT IN CAMPAINING….

    IF THAT IS THE SCENARIO WILL HAPPEN THAT IS THE VERY SAD THING WE HAVE TO FACE….ABIDE THE GOOD BEFORE YOU WILL WIN IN THE ELECTIONS….

    • Nathaniel Sarabia

      Constructivemediacritics……first …if you are not comfortable writing in English…you can write in Tagalog or any dialect you are comfortable with….second….what is the logic of your rant?

      • catalansbarce

        Pre., dont waste your time this constructivemediash…le. He is a troll of the
        NPA., the legal adviser of Casino.

    • don alto

      ANO RAW??

    • lee1222

      Please pass the napkin. My nose is bleeding! LOL

    • john_constantine

      E end na daw ng term ang mayor a, hindi na kandidato sa Mayo. Paanong campaigning ang ginagawa?

    • durian

      Eh sira pla ulo nito? First paragraph plang ng opinion mo, obvious na isa ka ring kampon ng mga kriminal na Komunista…,Ang galing ng English mo ngunit HINDI mo alam pinag sasabi mo.., do more research please?

  • $18209031

    Mayor, tabangan ninyo yan kay kaluoy kaayo ning mga bata walay amahan.

  • litobetita

    Very very sad. We demand justice for these poor souls, for the widows, for the children who are now orphans. Enough with this senseless war where the Filipino People and often the innocent children are the true the victims.

  • Makabayan_cebu

    According to Sen. Guingona, her mother attended a fiesta, not campaigning coz she’s ending this year her term as Mayor. HINDI SYA KANDIDATO (categorical statement ni Senator). That’s why it’s PALAISIPAN kung bakit ang “mababait” nating mga NO-PERMANENT-ADDRESS ay tatambangan ang comboy ni Mayor when she has no business anymore with 2013 election? The mayor has more claim of political territory, as the duly elected of the government, of the place than our mindless NPA killers who claim for their “teritorio”…bakit sino kayo mang-aangkin ng karat-dapat sa govierno at sa taong bayang Pilipino?????. Di na po niyo maibabalik ang buhay ng mga mararangal at hardworking na manggagawa ni Mayor kahit mag-apologize kayo sa langit o sa impyerno. Senator Guingona, please help and assume the responsibility of helping the welfare and future of ur mom’s ordinary and faithful workers’ children who lost their fathers.

  • david

    hindi lang salot ang npa. mga kawatan, terorista, demonyo, hayop!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Noel

    Very tragic. What happens now to the family left by the victims? The Guingona family must support them.

  • Nelson Dino

    Itong mga NPA ay mga decieve ng dyablo, they are devilish in action, they have the highest pride like lucifer, hunger for blood. Sa salita sila daw ay para sa tao, ngunit sila pala’y salot sa tao, nararanasan din ito saaming probinsiya ng aming kamag-anak na mga negosyante…sisingilin ka ng revolutionary tax daw. I rebuked you satan and cursed your ways through this NPA’s in Jesus name!!

    • durian

      Amen!!!!

  • TuwadNaDaan

    buwisit na NPA….

  • jeff justice

    Mr Teofisto Guingona… the delusional big talker who sought refuge in the US, then turned around and promoted his political greed…. spearheaded the ouster of US Bases in the Philippines for the benefit of the leftist moaist idiots.

    The NPA should ambush you next….you are one worthless grandstanding ingrate.
    Now you will seek refuge in the US once more.

    Get lost.

    • iurqal

      so the NPAs are blameless? for taking the lives of innocent people? I say you get lost

  • regie

    these velasco brothers are a breed apart….they are secret service material. sa pamilya velasco ako ay nakikiramay at sabay na rin po na bumabati sa kagitingin ng inyong mga kaanak na namatay….

    • http://www.facebook.com/carel.cancio Carel Cancio

      Just do some research before running your mouth.

      1987 Coup d’ etat .

    • $5699914

      you are ignorant about the PSG to question their loyalty and dedication to their duty….

  • penoy2012

    Can the Velasco family still receive justice?

  • $5699914

    Huwag sanang tumanggap ng kahit na anong ‘tulong’ o bayad ang pamilya nila galing sa mga NPA o sino mang makakaliwang-militanteng grupo….kapag nagkataon, mauuwi sa wala ang pagkamatay ng mga mahal ninyo sa buhay.

  • Don

    It was communists who also ambushed and killed Aurora Quezon, President Manuel Quezon’s widow, in Aurora. Mga ingrato.

  • yonoh

    yan ang pinaglalaban ng mga npa…………..ang pumatay……..mga utak pulbura……….kawawang pamilya…………sana itigil na ito ng mga npa………………bumalik na lang sila sa bayan……………..ginagamit lang din sila ng mga ganid sa lipunan na gustong mamuno kuno…………………..

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