Praying for Mindanao

November 02, 2019

My family and I join the entire nation in praying for the quake-devastated Mindanao. I pray that the quakes will stop soon and that Mindanaoans will soon be able to recover and rebuild their lost homes. Most importantly, I pray for the dead and the wounded. My greatest wish is that their numbers won’t further increase.

I’m writing this since while the rest of us here in Metro Manila are soundly sleeping in the confines of our homes, our fellows in quake-hit areas in Mindanao are forced to sleep in makeshift tents and wait for the arrival of Good Samaritans who will deliver food, medicine, blankets, water, hygienic kits etc.

Amid their sufferings, i was shocked by some people who can’t hide their hatred for Mindanao simply because of President Duterte.  When former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te tweeted “What’s with all the earthquakes in Mindanao,” a staunch anti-Duterte named Leah Navarro  replied ‘Retribution.’

I can’t understand why people would say things like this. But as they always say, “speaking badly of others only reveals bad within ourselves.’  One of my favorite verses explains it all:  “Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy.”

Indeed, who are we to judge our neigbors?

My wife Candy was teary-eyed while I was having breakfast yesterday. I found out she was reading this Facebook post from one Gigi Gonzales Talion which I would like to share.

“We in Mindanao have been dealing with high magnitude/intensities of earthquakes 16 days now from whence it started in Tulunan, North Cotabato,. Since then, countless of aftershocks have been felt and recorded.Twice this week, 2 major quakes were reported. And yet, the rest of the country is quiet. No pray for Mindanao. No help for Mindanao. No telethons. No big splashes on tv. No celebrity endorsers. Di kasi Paris  or New York or London ang hurting Mindanao lang kasi.

Mindanao, which has fed, has been feeding and will continue to feed the nation, by way of its natural resources, raped by opportunists and great businesses. Yes, that Mindanao. That forgotten region.

I would tell Ms. Talion—Mindanao won’t be forgotten by the rest of the country. My prayers for you all.


Six days after Clarin, Misamis Occidental Mayor David Navarro was executed in gangland-style by a group of unidentified armed men who disarmed and forced the victim’s police escorts to get out of their patrol cars and lie down the ground, the female head of the Cebu City Police Office has been administratively relieved of her post.

Police Regional Office 7 director, Brigadier General Val de Leon said that Colonel Gemma Vinluan was administratively relieved as Cebu City police chief pending the outcome of the National Bureau of Investigation’s probe into the murder of the mayor.

Admit it or not, the gangland-style execution of Mayor Navarro, with his heavily-armed police escorts being surprised by the suspects and thus were unable to fire any shots to defend themselves have caught the attention of the entire nation and worse, the ire of President Duterte who ordered the NBI to take over the investigation saying that police might have had something to do with Navarro’s killing due to the cops’ inaction.

However, many officials have been telling me that the PRO7 leadership’s decision was too late since the relief order not only of the Cebu City police chief but the concerned precinct commander could have been ordered immediately after the daring ambush.

Actually, the killing of the mayor which was like a ‘scene straight out of the movies’ embarrassed the police organization and triggered questions on the ability of the police force to protect suspected crime offenders already under their protective custody just like the slain politician. “I can’t believe they were so inutile, so useless that afternoon,” a retired police general told me.

The embarrassing incident, many officials said, had also put to naught the many accomplishments scored by the Cebu City police force in the war on drugs, insurgency and criminality. During a reenactment of the ambush, it turned out that the policemen escorting the mayor were surprised by the gunmen who ordered them to alight from their patrol vehicles and were forced to drop to the ground before the other suspects sprayed the mayor with automatic gunfire killing him on the spot.

Around 10 gunmen killed Navarro after surprising him and his police escorts along M. Velez Street in Cebu City around 2 p.m. on Friday last week. The victim who was then to be charged with slight physical injury, acts of lasciviousness and usurpation of authority, was about to be taken for inquest at the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office when killed. Four others including two policemen were injured in the surprise attack. As they always say, ‘onli in the Philippines.’

Initially, de Leon said that the ambush happened so fast that policemen escorting the mayor were not able to properly react. Ironically, the mayor was made to wear a. bullet-proof vest by his escorts prior to the ambush.

The reenactment showed that the mayor was in the middle of a police convoy when he was shot. The official was about to be taken to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office for inquest when he was attacked.

The investigation showed that Mayor Navarro was on board a Cebu City police patrol car with some local policemen while in front of them was another vehicle with more members of the Cebu City Police Office. Behind them was another vehicle carrying Navarro’s family and some police escorts.

While traveling, a white van cut them off and five to 10 gunmen emerged from the vehicle and pointed their weapons at the policemen threatening to shoot them if they will react. The policemen were also forced out of their vehicles and made to lie down the ground by the gunmen.

The armed men then sprayed the vehicle carrying the mayor with automatic gunfire killing the official who sustained at last 25 gunshot wounds. What happened to the police strategy to protect persons under their custody at that precise moment?