Nueva Ecija pays tribute to 4 local cops as SAF 44 remembered
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – Four local police personnel, who were either killed in the line of duty or succumbed to COVID-19, were honored in Nueva Ecija during the commemoration of the heroism of the 44 Special Action Force members who were kllied during a standoff with Muslim armed groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao seven years ago.
Col. Jess Mendez, acting Nueva Ecija police director, led the recognition of police officers Marlon Francisco, intelligence officer of Santa Municipal police station; Gregorio Jacinto Jr., supply and range officer of the provincial public safety company; Roy Empaynado, frontliner of Peñaranda police station; and Baltazar Sacro, frontliner of Jaen police station.
Francisco died after he was hit by a bullet during the successful rescue of a hostage victim on June 6, 2017 while Jacinto was killed in an encounter during an anti-illegal drugs operation that resulted in the arrest of a wanted fugitive on Dec. 14, 2014.
Both serving as frontliners in the government’s combat against COVID-19, Empaynado and Sacro succumbed to the virus on May 14, 2021 and Jan. 14, 2022, respectively.
Their widows received the certificates of recognition as they joined Mendez in offering wreaths to the fallen members of SAF who died in battle with Bansamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015.
The government troopers launched the attack to get Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, one the world’s most wanted men.
“It is fitting to pay tribute to them, including our comrades in NEPPO (Nueva Ecija police provincial office) who offered their lives as they battle against criminality and the dreadful COVID-19 disease,” said Mendez.
Mendez added that while the battle against criminality and the virus continues, the police are also preparing for the conduct of honest and peaceful local and national elections in May.
“The greater challenges ahead of us remind us to be alert, dedicated and truthful,” he added. INQ
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