Tears, wailing greet C-130s with 42 slain SAF members
MANILA, Philippines — The wailing of some grieving family members broke the silence at the Villamor Air Base grandstand as soon as the first C-130 plane carrying the bodies of 42 police commandos landed in Manila Thursday morning.
Nonetheless, the atmosphere remained solemn even as the flag-draped metal caskets bearing the fallen members of the Special Action Force (SAF) were carried out by groups of waiting comrades.
Slowly, one-by-one, the caskets were carried out of three military transport planes and placed on funeral trolleys as the instrumental of “You Raise Me Up” played in the background.
The Philippine National Police band then played the funeral hymn until the 42 coffins were all in place.
Of the 44 SAF men killed in a police operation on Sunday in Maguindanao, two were already in Mindanao following Islamic tradition.
Finally allowed to approach the caskets lined up on the tarmac, bereft family members cried loudly upon seeing their dead loved ones.
Top police and military officials attended the arrival honors. Government officials were also present to sympathize with the surviving kin of the heroes.
Among those at the airbase were Vice President Jejomar Binay, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Transportation Secretary Emilio Abaya, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, and Senator Bongbong Marcos.
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