Quantcast
Latest Stories

Guingona bodyguards were ready to give up lives for mayor

By

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….”


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: ambushes , Attacks , Bartolome "Tome" Velasco , bodyguards , Cherry Mae Velasco , clashes , communist rebellion , Crime , encounters , Gingoog City , gun battles , Homicide , Insurgency , Local authorities , Local Governments , mayors , Nestor Velasco , New People's Army , News , rebellion , Regions , Ruth de Lara-Guingona , serious physical injuries




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  4. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  5. Senator Pimentel backs German think tank’s stand vs dynasties
  6. Bar proctor suspended for photographing test papers
  7. Collector Danny Garcia says Inquirer worth more than news
  8. Meteor shower to light up PH skies
  9. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Pope’s Easter Message ‘Urbi et Orbi’
  • Fire sweeps through slum area in Caloocan City
  • Militants kill 14 Algerian soldiers in ambush
  • Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter
  • 4 French journalists freed from Syria captors home
  • Sports

  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement