Homecoming turns to wake for family in 5-vehicle smashup in CamSur
PILI, Camarines Sur – The Peña family had been preparing for a warm welcome for their son Ronel who was bringing home his Swiss wife Susanne and their son Naoki William from Thailand for the first time to Pili town in Camarines Sur province.
Although their relatives in Quezon province had met Susanne and Naoki, it would have been the first time Ronel’s parents, siblings, aunts and uncles would meet his new family.
But their excitement was replaced by grief after the young family figured in a five-vehicle accident on Tuesday in Libmanan town, 49.4 kilometers away from home.
Ronel, who was driving their Pili-bound car from Manila, died instantly in the accident in Barangay Mabini, while his wife passed away while undergoing treatment. Their son, nine-month-old Naoki William, miraculously survived after he was thrown out of the car window.
Leoncia Mangarin, 58, a public elementary school principal in Libmanan also died in the accident. Ten persons were hurt.
Instead of laughter, there were sighs of grief in New San Roque Chapel in this town where Ronel’s and Susanne’s caskets were placed side-by-side waiting for relatives to arrive on Friday.
Susanne’s parents, who were also based in Thailand, arrived in Bicol on Saturday afternoon to be in Pili for their daughter’s wake.
In Mother Seton Hospital in neighboring Naga City, surgery was done on Naoki’s left leg which was fractured when he hit the street. Doctors said he was already feeling better.
Richelle, Ronel’s sister, had stepped in Susanne’s place by breastfeeding Naoki.
Meanwhile, donations were still pouring in from various donors after the call for help for Naoki was announced.
Jimmy Peña, Ronel’s uncle, said that they had been receiving assistance from private individuals.
“We have been getting diapers, milk bottles, and cash donations,” Jimmy told Inquirer a few hours after Naoki’s CT scan.
Che Del Rosario, Naoki’s aunt, said the secretary of Sen. Aquilino “Koko‘ Pimentel III called them Saturday morning to offerhelp, but they had yet to process documents before receiving the donation.
On Friday morning, slightly cloudy skies further accentuated the heaviness that Ronel’s father Carding was feeling at the shanty where he raised his son.
Carding had suffered a stroke before and Ronel had been the one financing his medication.
Even after they had brought his son’s body home, Carding still could not believe that he was already gone.
“We had already prepared the bed where they could sleep while they are here,” Carding said.
He was having trouble speaking, a result of the stroke he had.
He also said that they were all very much excited to finally meet the mother and son for the first time before the accident happened. /atm
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