Relatives, friends pay tribute to 2 Ateneans
Relatives and close friends of the two alumni of Ateneo de Naga University (AdeNU), who were among the eight communist rebels killed in an encounter with Army soldiers in Sorsogon on July 4, offered a Mass for them at the Jesuit-run school in Naga City on Monday.
Even former acquaintances in the underground movement in the 1990s showed up to pay their respects to Frankie Joe Soriano, alias Ka Greg Bañares, spokesperson of the communist-led National Democratic Front-Bicol, and Ted Palacio, alias Ka Gary.
After his graduation in college, Soriano joined the guerrillas to organize farmers. He was assigned to the town centers of Camarines Norte until 1995. He was a member of the Regional Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines until his death.
Palacio graduated in 1994 with a BS Computer Science degree. He was an instructor in computer science at AdeNU when he went underground in 1995 and joined the armed struggle in 1999.
Friends and classmates grieved in silence as they shook hands before the 30-minute Mass started at 9:30 a.m. Fr. Rex Alarkon, a classmate of Palacio in high school, celebrated the Mass.
“There is an end in our struggle on earth,” Alarkon said, but “there is somebody greater than our aspirations—God.”
“All of us are equal before God. We pray to the Lord to grant them eternal peace,” he said.
Siblings of Bañares and Palacio thanked those present for remembering and respecting the memories of their loved ones.
Jasper Soriano, second to Frankie, who was eldest among three siblings, said the family respected his brother’s decision to join the rebels even if it hurt them.
“Maybe they (NPA members) also have their cause which other people cannot accept. For his loved ones and family, he left behind, we remain neutral,” Jasper said. Their brother, he said, possessed more good qualities than bad.
Doris Palacio, a younger sister of Ted, described the “unbearable pain” of losing him, especially that another elder brother had just died. She called Ted “Manoy Boboy,” a term of endearment for an elder brother.
“I will say that Manoy Boboy is now in peace,” she said. His body lies in their home in Naga.