December 5, 2008. Paranaque became witness to a bloody shootout between the PNP and a group of armed robbery suspects, killing 16 people including civilians.
Following investigations, 17 police officers were slapped with administrative charges by the PNP Internal Affairs. Hearings will start this month.
Among the five civilians who were killed in the crossfire was an OFW and his 7-year old kid who were strafed to death while on board their Isuzu Crosswind. The widow and bereaved mom, Lilian de Vera, circulated this email in the hope of getting heard and achieving justice.
Below is her letter that was emailed to me by a friend yesterday:
Two months ago I considered myself as one of those blessed and happiest people on earth. Why not? I married a guy who was an epitome of kindness. A guy who worshipped even the footsteps I made. More importantly, our union blessed us with a daughter who not only became the main source of our happiness....more so; she was the center of our lives..
We're simple folks who led a simple life. We felt the happiest even about mundane things and inconsequential ones that most people would only take for granted. Our joy mostly revolved on simple pleasures like a sudden trip to Jollibee or a late night marauding of the fridge for any leftovers. A perfect family with simple delights, dreams and aspirations.........until that fateful night on December 5, 2008.The day my husband and daughter were taken away from me in a very violent way. That Friday night on December 5, 2008 marked the beginning of all the terror, anguish and misery in my life.
In keeping with my ritual or "panata" on every first Friday of every month, I went to Quiapo Church on the above mentioned date to pay homage and respect to the Almighty One. My husband and daughter were supposed to pick me up in Pasay City after which we planned on giving our daughter a treat to Jollibee. While riding the jeep, I tried to call my husband to tell him that I was on my way to our meeting place. But despite all the calls I made, my husband remained silent. A very unusual occurrence inasmuch as he seldom missed my calls. Despite my trepidation and wonder, I took the next jeep going home and prayed that everything was alright. I even promised to myself that I would forgive my husband for not answering my calls and for forgetting to pick me up.
I felt relieved when near our place my phone rung. Such relief was somehow only momentary....in fact the phone call I got was the bearer of the worst news in my entire life. My helper called, only to tell me that my husband and daughter were shot to death by "men in uniform". The same men who were sworned to protect innocent people from bad guys brutally slew the two most important persons in my life. They were the same men whose sacred duty was to preserve the lives of the public against all harm and danger. Yet.......they were the same men who murdered my love ones in the most cruel, savage and inhuman way.
My husband's face was unrecognizable because he was shot in the head at close range while he was kneeling with his head bowed down. My daughter's young body was riddled with bullets, one hit her head, blowing her brains out.., all from too powerful guns and ammunitions fired by the "men in uniform" on two innocent and defenseless persons.
The "men in uniform" were allegedly on a mission to take some gang of robbers victimizing people at large. The police shot the crosswind van my husband and daughter were riding Based on some witnesses' narration, the police sprayed bullets into the van despite the lack of provocation or shots coming from the van. In his last effort to save their lives, my husband grabbed my bloodied daughter and shielded her with his body while trying to run away from the police and tried to get cover from a parked jeepney My husband and daughter were so defenseless. How can you mistake a child for a robber? How can you shot at someone who was already kneeling with head bowed, an indication of helplessness.
My husband and daughter are gone.......forever. The pain I feel for their lost is too much to bear. And the only thing that motivates me to go on with life is the mission to seek justice for their senseless killing. If the people who are responsible for their death will be punished, if I could bring them the justice they so richly deserve, my pain would be alleviated. The misery I will live by will be lessened. My husband and daughter will be vindicated and I will learn to live the remaining years of my life in peace.
Thus: I'm asking and begging everyone who will come across this letter/e-mail to forward the same to all your relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Help me bring my cause to the eyes of the people capable of steering the wheel of justice to the right direction. Help me make the loudest cry worthy of attention by those people in-charge in rendering justice to those who deserve it.
Strength comes in numbers; it is where the impossible becomes possible. It is also where the unattainable becomes achievable.
My heartfelt gratitude for everyone who will take a moment in their too busy lives and forward this letter/e-mail to everyone they know. May God always protect you and your love ones from all harm.
Lilian de Vera