40 days after Mamasapano, pray for peace
DEEP in our hearts, we long for peace,” said Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma in his homily last night.
“May this become a reality.”
The prelate offered Mass marking the 40th day after the fatal clash in Mamasapano that claimed the lives of 44 Special Action Forces (SAF) police commandos, 18 Muslim rebels and five civilians.
The 5 p.m. Mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral was attended by uniformed policemen, government employees, priests, and lay persons.
The widows of PO1 Windel Candani and PO1 Romeo Cempron—two Cebuano SAF members who were killed last Jan. 25—were not around.
About 20 policemen were present since most of them were reportedly attending another activity in a Cebu City hotel.
Also present were Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, and Talisay City Councilor Socrates Fernandez.
At the start of the Mass, Palma said the service was intended for all 67 fatalities in the Mamasapano clas, and their grieving families.
In his homily, Palma said he knows how it feels to lose a loved one in violence. His younger brother—a captain of the Philippine Marines—was ambushed in Jolo, Sulu years ago.
“Many posed a question why the Mamasapano incident happened. And I’d like to offer what Pope Francis said when he visited Tacloban: ‘Silence perhaps is the best answer. We may not understand or explain the mystery behind this, but we know that God will never abandon us,” he said.
Palma urged the people to ever forget the sacrifice of uniformed men who offered their lives for the country.
“May we always treasure their legacy. May we value and give importance to what they fought for,” he said.
As the Mass ended, candle were lighted and people sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”
Bishops Antonio Rañola and Emilio Bataclan, Fr. Carmelo Diola of the Dilaab Movement, and eight other priests concelebrated the Mass.
Senator Gingona, in an interview, echoed calls to render justice to the SAF trooped who died in the Mamasapano clash.
“The truth about what really happened has to come out otherwise there will be no justice. Once justice will be served, then we can talk about the peace process so we can have lasting peace,” he said.
Last Jan. 25, 392 SAF troops stormed the camp of Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir (alias Marwan) to arrest him and his Filipino deputy, Basit Usman.
Marwan was killed but as the police were withdrawing, they came under fire allegedly by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
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