Police surprise young rebel with birthday cake, ‘pancit’
CATARMAN, NORTHERN SAMAR — A young rebel was seated inside the jail cell at the provincial police headquarters here on Thursday when he heard people singing a birthday song.
When he turned, Aljun Cardenas broke into a smile. It was his 19th birthday, and policemen had brought him a cake.
It was the first time he had a birthday cake.
“He was happy. He said it was his first time to have a birthday cake, and he got it while in detention,” said Police Lt. Col. Rafael Tayaban, civil relations chief of the Northern Samar Police Provincial Office (NSPPO).
Cardenas has been detained at Camp Carlos Delgado, headquarters of the NSPPO here, since March 28, when he was captured after the failed attack by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on the police station of Victoria town.
Police station attacked
More than 50 communist insurgents clad in military uniforms and on board several vehicles stormed the police station at 3:44 a.m. on March 28.
Sensing an attack, Police Lt. Eladio Alo, Victoria police chief, told the 15 policemen on duty to get ready for a fight. They positioned themselves on the rooftop of the police station and fired at the advancing rebels.
The firefight lasted two hours. When the smoke of the battle cleared, three rebels lay dead while three others were captured.
One of them was Cardenas.
Tayaban said he decided to give Cardenas a surprise birthday celebration after a policeman overheard him telling a fellow captive that he would turn 19 on April 4.
Grateful for gesture
The police colonel ordered a cake from a local bakery. To complete the celebration, he also bought “pancit” (stir-fried noodles) and soda.
The surprised teenager thanked the police for the gesture.
Tayaban said he just wanted Cardenas and the other rebels to feel that they were being taken care of while in police custody.
“At least they would feel that they were being taken care of and somehow, people care for them,” Tayaban said.
Cardenas, a resident of Dawo village in Calbayog City, only finished Grade 4.
He told police that he joined the underground movement recently after the NPA promised to give his family land to till.
But his participation in the attack on Victoria police station only resulted in the filing of multiple frustrated murder charges against him.
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