THE young commander of a police station in Lapu-Lapu City yesterday reported for duty with a close-cropped hairstyle, which he said was the Philippine National Police Academy Batch 2009’s way of expressing their grief over the tragic deaths of the 44 members of the PNP-Special Action Force in Maguindanao.
Senior Insp. Verniño Noserale, chief of Police Station 2 of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, said three of the slain police commandos were his batchmates in the Kaisang Bisig Class of 2009.
The three slain police officers were Senior Insp. Max Jim Tria, Senior Insp. Getnad Tabdi and Senior Insp. John Garry Erana, who was the First Captain of the police academy during their time.
“It is still instilled in my mind that in every class, there is a required haircut to follow every year. And this particular haircut reminded me of that new beginning, our first years. Aside from the fact that this is a sign of unity for us in seeking justice for the fallen SAF,” he said.
Nineteen of the 315 members of PNPA Class 2009 were assigned to different police units in the Visayas. The three slain officers were assigned in Northern Luzon.
“This is us showing as a class to the world how we really love our batch mates,” Noserale said.
In the Bicol region, 19 junior police officers, who are also members of Class 2009, have shaved their heads to show sympathy for the bereaved families of their batchmates.
Senior Insp. Sheena Guzman, chief of police of Canaman town in Camarines Sur, also had her hair shorn close to her scalp.
Losing three of the batchmates “was just like losing beloved family members,” she said.
Senior Insp. Bon Billy Timuat, police chief of Claveria, Masbate, said this was the second time they had their heads shaved. The first time was when they were in their second year as cadets at the PNPA when they had their first “skinhead” haircut. Timuat sported a “09” figure at the back of his shaved head to emphasize the batch and year they graduated, said the death of his batchmates “was very hard and painful to accept.”