PGMA visits slain soldiers at Fort Bonifacio

April 16, 2010 10:00 pm 

MANILA, April 16 — Fresh from her official visits to the United States and Spain, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo arrived this afternoon at the VIP Lounge of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 2 where she held a closed-door briefing with her Cabinet and military officers.

From the briefing, the Presidential convoy crossed the runway heading towards the Philippine Marine chapel at Fort Bonifacio where a final mass for three slain Marine soldiers was being held before their bodies are brought to their final resting places in their provinces.

The President condoled with the bereaved family members of the three soldiers— Cpl. Jerome Verzola (Philippine Navy), Pfc. Francis Viba (PN) and Pfc Anastacio Giron Jr. (PN).

At the front bench, the President was joined by Araceli Verzola (Cpl. Verzola’s mother) and her daughter; Juliet Vibal, 32, wife of Pfc. Vibal and Anastacio Giron Sr., father of Pfc. Giron.

The President particularly grieved with Vibal’s wife Juliet, saying that “had your husband not put his life on the line, Isabela could have been transformed by the Abu Sayyaf into another Ipil.”

Earlier the Palace rejected calls from Basilan Bishop Martin Jumaod to suspend some civil liberties and declare Martial law in the province after the ASG attacks left 15 people dead – including the three soldiers—and dozen others wounded in last Monday’s ambush.

Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza, in a recent press briefing, called on the public to remain vigilant since terrorists could launch attacks in populated areas.

Mendoza called the ASG’s attacks as “desperate and perverse attempt” to demand continued recognition. (PNA) RMA/OPS/ssc

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