‘Salvage’ survivor finds help, voice in Facebook
Facebook caters to selfies, travel photos and fake news but on a good day, it could also serve as a tool to fight evil and bring help to its victims.
One such good day was Nov. 15 when, at 6 a.m., photographer Ezra Acayan posted on his Facebook wall a snapshot he took of a man who looked like he met an accident, his head and right cheek wrapped in bandage.
Acayan, an award-winning lensman who has been documenting victims of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, recalled how he stumbled upon the story of Roger Herrero, the subject of his photo.
A recent spate of killings in Quezon province had caught Acayan’s attention, he told the Inquirer.
A report about a shooting involving Herrero prompted Acayan to seek out Herrero’s family.
Piecing together the story, Acayan narrated on his Facebook page the details behind the picture.
He said police officers in Quezon town of Agdangan accused Herrero of robbery.
While being investigated, Herrero allegedly fled on board a motorcycle.
“But Roger couldn’t drive a motorbike,” Acayan quoted Herrero’s wife as saying. “Roger could drive only a pedicab,” said the wife, referring to a bicycle attached to a sidecar being used to ferry passengers.
Police arrested Herrero, forced him to admit to a series of robberies in Agdangan and then brought him to Atimonan, an hour’s drive away from Agdangan.
Police parked their patrol vehicle in a dimly lit place before one of the cops aimed a gun at Herrero’s head.
‘Please, don’t, sir’
“Please, don’t sir, have pity on me, I have four children, all still very young,” Herrero muttered aloud, begging for his life as the gun came close to his face.
“Start praying!” Herrero quoted the cop as saying, moments before he pulled the trigger.
The bullet pierced Herrero’s head, shattering his jaw. He slumped to the ground.
Lying in a pool of his own blood but still conscious, he played dead. When the police left, he managed to stand up and walk toward the other direction to ask for help.
Acayan continued: “Roger survived the ordeal, but could not speak because the bullet had shattered his jaw. He urgently needs your help. His life is still very much in danger — a bullet remains inside his head.”
P300 a day
“Roger is a pedicab driver, earning about P300 a day. His wife stays at home to take care of their four children — the eldest is 7 years old, the youngest, 4 months.”
“He needs a titanium plate for his jaw, which costs P215,000 — a staggering amount for a pedicab driver.”
“Since Nov. 1, Roger and his family had been relying on help from their relatives and friends. But, like Roger, they are very much underprivileged.”
“They could not possibly raise the money needed for the operation, the medicines and the titanium plate on their own.”
Acayan continued his Facebook narration by appealing for help for Herrero.
“I am begging on behalf of Roger and his young family. Please share and help give Roger a second lease on life,” Acayan said.
At 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 16, Acayan posted an update: “159 percent (or more than P300,000) funded in less than 24 hours. You people are amazing. Thank you so much for the generosity.”
“Everything will go to Roger’s operation, hospitalization fees and help for his family.”
“Roger and his family are now busy preparing for his surgery. We will be posting updates in the coming days. Roger’s family would like to extend their endless thanks to all who have sent their help!”
The National Bureau of Investigation is looking into the case, Acayan told the Inquirer.
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