Remains of slain elite Navy men brought to Manila

January 1, 2010 2:03 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 1 – The remains of the fallen Navy heroes were flown in to Manila on Thursday from Zamboanga City, a military spokesman said on Friday.

Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo said remains of the two, including an officer, arrived around 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

Ceremonial honors befitting soldiers who died in line of duty were accorded to the two at the Naval Station Rudiardo Brown aboard Naval Station Jose Francisco in Taguig City Friday morning.

Arevalo said the Navy flew at half mast the national ensign in all naval stations throughout the country as it mourns the demise of "two of its gallant men who offered their lives as supreme sacrifice in the altar of duty."

The two – Lt. (jg) Christopher Pantaleon and Petty Officer 3 Almario Manalili – perished following a clash with combined Abu Sayyaf terrorists and rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Mohammad Ajul town in Basilan on Wednesday night. Another Navy man – Seaman First Class Reynand Sumalinog – was wounded.

Arevalo said "the grateful Filipino nation expresses sympathy to the families and loved ones" of the two slain personnel.

Pantaleon is a member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 2004.

"The death of the two Navy SEALs and the wounding of Seaman 1st Class Reynan Sumalinog followed a successful operation that liberated Sitio Pekok, Brgy. Langgung, MuhammadAdjul, Basilan from the clutches of the Terrorist/ kidnapper/extortionist Abu Sayyaf Group," said Arevalo.

"ASG members and their unscrupulous cohorts extort P100 each from the people traversing the road from that place to downtown Lamitan — a fee more exorbitant than the rate for the use of the Expressway from Magallanes to Laguna," added Arevalo.

"Their death was not in vain. Terrorist/ kidnapper/ extortionist Abu Sayyaf Group was flushed out of their once impregnable jungle lair that they use as training ground and hideout for their criminal elements and safe house for their kidnap victims," said Navy chief Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez.

"We have wrestled and regained control of the place from the ASG and cohorts; restored normalcy and government in that area. We will pursue operations employing a chemistry of Combat and Humanitarian/Development operations to achieve lasting peace," added Golez. (PNA)

dct/FFC/VR

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