Cpl. Reymund Paracuelles: ‘He did not die in vain’

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag June 08,2017 - 10:47 PM


Cebuano soldier killed in the Marawi siege

When Reymund Paracuelles was five years old, his father Cesar already knew that he would become a soldier.

Reymund, even as a child, had always been fascinated with guns, and visits to malls would mean asking his father to buy him toy guns.

The times he got to meet his uncles who were soldiers were exciting time for Reymund as they got to see or touch their armalites, recalled Cesar.

These memories came flooding back to Cesar as he talked about his son who served, fought and lost his life for the country.

A native of Barangay Manduyong in the town of Badian, Army Corporal Reymund Paracuelles was among the soldiers who were sent last week to

Marawi City to fight the Maute terror group who has laid siege to the city.

On June 6, a Tuesday, Reymund was killed. He was 30 years old.

’The last phone call’

Just hours before he died, Reymund and Cesar spoke twice on the phone.

Their first phone conversation was at 8 a.m. when Reymund informed his father that there were snipers around the area where his group was positioned.

“Ako siyang giingnan nga mag-ampo sa Ginoo kay delikadko ilang sitwasyon. Pag-amping,” Cesar recalled telling his son. (I told him to pray to God because their situation was dangerous. Take care.)

At 1 p.m of the same day, Reymund again spoke to his father to inform the latter that they were in a lull but would soon be leaving their position.

Reymund also spoke about his concern of his son Cesar Jil who was in the hospital that day.

Cesar promised to check on his grandson who will turn two years old on Oct. 28 and is living in Manila with Reymund’s wife, Ann Catherine Pascual Paracuelles, a former Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadet.

Cesar said it was not surprising that his son would be calling him even if he was in a middle of an operation as they were extremely close and would call each other every day. Reymund, the eldest among five siblings, was Cesar’s only son.

That fateful day, Cesar said his last words to his son were: “Ayaw og kumpyansa (Be extra careful).”

Barely three hours later, at around 4 p.m., a member of Reymund’s battalion informed Reymund’s sister Melody, a Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduate based in Fort Bonifacio, that her brother perished in the battle to retake Marawi from the Maute group.

Among those recovered from Reymund’s possession was his diary where he wrote all the names of his family members — his wife, son, parents and siblings — and his everyday experience as a soldier.

“My son, have a safe trip to heaven. I am extremely proud of you for having served our country well,” said Cesar in Cebuano.

Reymund’s remains were brought to Villamor Air Base in Pasay City and his family did not know yet when he will be brought to Cebu, Cesar said.

To Cesar, the death of his son and of other soldiers in Marawi should not go in vain.

He urged President Rodrigo Duterte to continue the fight against the Maute group and end terrorism in the country.

’Who was Reymund?’

Reymund came from a family of soldiers. Cesar, while making a living as a livestock raiser, has two brothers and several cousins who are soldiers.

Cesar, 57, and wife Leticia, 51, raised Reymund and his sisters Melissa, Melody, Tetchie and Jenevive in Barangay Manduyong of Badian town in southwest Cebu.

Reymund, who studied fisheries at Cebu Technological University (CTU) in its Moalboal Campus and graduated in 2007, had worked his way up to becoming supervisor of an Sbarro outlet in Cebu City when he decided to resign and entered the military service in 2012.

He was assigned to the Army’s Engineering Battalion in Fort Bonifacio when he was deployed to Marawi as part of the military’s engineering support group. It was Reymund’s first assignment to a war-stricken area, Cesar said.

’Cebu mourns his death’

The Cebuano community mourns Reymund’s passing, said Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III in an open letter to Cebuanos last June 8.

“I may not know him personally, but nothing pains me more than knowing the valiant death of a struggling soldier. Soldiering is a hard, a no pathway to wealth and riches, it requires a lot of dedication, rigid training, balls and everything, and certainly it’s not for the timid and faint-hearted. And giving one’s life for your country is the highest act of patriotism possible,” Davide said.

Soldiers in Marawi City who “fought bravely and died defending freedom and protecting the lives of the innocents, though fallen, are never the vanquished,” Davide added.

“To stand for the weak and powerless, to defend people of their right to choose what divinity to worship, to repel violence in the guise of religious fanaticism, and to kill and be killed against the evils of terrorism is never an option to that of a good soldier. It’s almost a destiny. And to the family of Corporal Reymund Paracuelles, and to all Cebuanos, remember that death does not at all times bring sadness and despondency; sometimes, there is glory that shines upon our tears. He never died in vain.”

Son of Badian

Badian Councilor Mark Andrew Joralan, for his part, said he will sponsor a resolution in the municipal council next week to honor Paracauelles’ act of bravery and valor.

“The municipality of Badian lost a son, but we gained a hero who gave up his life to fight the Maute group,” Joralan said.

The local government unit of Badian will also extend financial assistance to the family, he said.

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