3 dried roses found on dead SAF trooper | Inquirer News

3 dried roses found on dead SAF trooper

By: - Correspondent / @joeygabietaINQ
/ 02:44 AM February 14, 2015

TACLOBAN CITY—PO1 Joseph Sagonoy had his day planned out on Jan. 25.

After the operation in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao province, he planned to go to an Internet café, go online and propose to his Dubai-based girlfriend.

Joseph never made it to the café.


PO1 SagonoyHe was killed along with 43 of his fellow commandos of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) during an encounter with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).


Three stems of dried roses were found in his backpack that was turned over to his family by police officials in a funeral parlor in Manila.

Joseph’s uncle, Rogelio, with whom the trooper had been staying, said they learned from a colleague of Joseph in the SAF that he had planned to propose to his girlfriend after their operation.

“We were surprised but at the same time touched. We learned that after their mission in Mamasapano, he would head straight to an Internet café and propose,” Rogelio said.

“I guess he really would like to marry and settle down with his girlfriend. After all, he was also financially stable and able to help his family as what I had advised him,” he added.

A video Joseph had prepared showed him smiling—and looking very much in love. He held a placard which said, “Will you be my girlfriend?’’ It was not clear when the placard was prepared.

Nurse named Nhabz


Rogelio said he only knew the girlfriend’s name as Nhabz, a registered nurse in Dubai.

He told the Inquirer in a phone interview that the family didn’t know about Joseph’s girlfriend because his nephew was always the quiet type.

“I didn’t know that he had a girlfriend while studying in the province,” he said.

“And I was not even aware that he had a girlfriend until we were informed about this.”

Souvenir of lost love

But that is not the end of the story of the roses.

Now, the flowers will be brought to Joseph’s girlfriend by his elder brother, James, who plans to return to Dubai on Feb. 18.

“James said he will give the dried flowers to Joseph’s girlfriend to show how his brother loved her,” Rogelio said. “Perhaps the flowers will serve as her souvenir from Joseph.”

James has been working for more than a year in a hotel in Dubai. He came back to the Philippines upon learning what happened to his brother.

Video online

Joseph was the second of four children of Flavio and Lorna Sagonoy, coconut farmers from Silvino Lubos town, Northern Samar province. He was able to go to college and get a degree in criminology at the University of Eastern Philippines in Catarman, Northern Samar, with Rogelio’s help.

Rogelio worked in Dubai for almost 13 years, also in a hotel, and returned for good in 2010. He operates a sari-sari store in San Roque town, Northern Samar.

Rogelio’s family has demanded justice for the 44 SAF commandos, especially after a video that was circulating online showed how Joseph was killed during the encounter.

The video showed that Joseph was still alive, his legs shaking, after the encounter. But he was shot twice in the head at close range by an unidentified assailant.

MILF claim disputed

Widows of two slain SAF commandos in Cebu province expressed outrage over the video because it apparently belied the MILF’s claim that the rebels were only responding to an exchange of gunfire.

Dr. Christine Cempron, widow of PO1 Romeo Cempron, pointed out that the video showed the rebels had gone close to the wounded SAF and seen their uniforms.

“They knew who they (the fallen troopers) were but they still did what they did,” she said.

“In every war, there is what we call rules of engagement but these people did too much,” she added.

Valentine card undelivered

Michelle Candano, widow of PO1 Windel Candano, said her husband, a medic, was shot in the head. His belongings, including his cellular phone, were stolen, she said.

The two widows planned to spend a quiet Valentine’s Day today. Christine planned to go to her husband’s grave while Michelle will stay at home and bond with her son, Sian Gabrielle.

Christine said she already had a Valentine’s card for her husband and had planned to give it to him on Feb. 17, when she goes to Zamboanga City for a visit.

She said she had accepted what happened to her husband and was comforted with the thought that he loved her.

Happy memories

Michelle had planned to surprise her husband on Valentine’s Day by also visiting him in Zamboanga with their son.

Now that he is gone, Michelle said she would spend the day with her son and recall their happy memories with Windel. With a report from Carine Asutilla, Inquirer Visayas



‘He’s my brother,’ cries kin of fallen SAF man whose brutal slay caught on video

Pa can’t bear watching video of ‘barbaric way’ his son was killed

Beyond the black beret–the stories of the SAF 44

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TAGS: 44 SAF commandos, Maguindanao, Mamasapano, MILF, PNP-SAF, SAF trooper

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