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In Tacloban, Cebu rites, calls for justice echo

TACLOBAN CITY—Passengers stopped briefly to look at the flag-draped coffins at the tarmac of Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport here on Saturday.

They made a sign of cross, knowing fully well that the coffins contained the remains of two of the 44 police commandos who were slaughtered on a successful mission to kill international terrorist Marwan in the town of Mamasapano in Maguindanao province.

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“They are really heroes,” said a female passenger, who works in the armed forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo.

More than 100 policemen, led by Chief Supt. Asher Dolina, police director for Eastern Visayas, were at the tarmac to give respects to PO2 Rodel Racamula, 27, and a native of Rosario town, and PO1 Joseph Sagonoy, 26, of Silvino Lubos town, both in Northern Samar province.

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“Their deaths will not be in vain,” said Dolina.

The remains of Racamula and Sagonoy were brought to Tacloban City at 10:31 a.m. on Saturday. Honors were given the two policemen on the same tarmac where Pope Francis celebrated Mass for survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda.”

Racamula’s remains were received by his mother Helen, 64, and younger sister Reyn Dale, 25, while Sagonoy’s was received by his uncle, Rogelio, 50, and his younger sister, Jean Pearl, 7.

“Until now, it has not sinked in that he is already dead,” said Helen. “And his death was so violent,” she said.

She learned about the fate of her son through another child, daughter Reyn Dale. Reyn said the last time the family saw her brother was May 20 when Racamula came to visit. She last talked to her brother on the phone on Jan. 19.

Helen and Rogelio are one with relatives of the other slain policemen. “No amount of money or honor will compensate for the loss of my son,” said Helen.

Rogelio, who had sent Sagonoy to school, said he considered the slain policeman as “my own son.”

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“I really felt bad,” said Rogelio.

In Cebu, the remains of the two Cebuano Special Action Force members were also brought to their relatives on Saturday.

At least 120 policemen from the regional police office gave arrival honors to PO1 Windel Candano and PO1 Romeo Cempron at Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Top officials of the province and the provincial police force were in attendance.

Relatives of Candano, who is from the town of Dumanjug, wore T-shirts bearing Candano’s image with messages that read “Our Hero” and “Justice for Windel.”

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