The widow of one of the slain Special Action Force members exemplified admirable strength as the nation bestowed honors for her husband.
Speaking at the necrological services for the fallen SAF policemen at Camp Bagong Diwa, Erica Pabalinas fought back tears as she remembered the last conversation with her husband Ryan.
“Should I be sad that I lost my husband or should I be proud? My husband gave his life to claim peace. He placed service [for] the people before anything else,” Pabalinas said.
She recalled that prior that fateful day, she asked her husband not to go to work anymore but he was firm in carrying out his duty.
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“Naglalambing ako sa kaniya, sabi ko daddy huwag ka na lang po sumama then he replied, 'Mommy ayan ka na naman hindi mo na naman naiintidihan.' It is a firm manifestation that my husband put duty first before family,” she said.
Pabalinas said she is slowly trying to accept her husband’s death, consoled by the idea that he died a hero.
“For the grieving wives just like me, let us be strong for our children, because behind every brave SAF trooper is a strong wife,” Pabalinas said.Pabalinas also said the operation was not about the money.
"[They] pursued operations not because of the tag price. if just for that we could have been richer," said Pabalinas.
Zulkifli bin Hir Marwan, who is listed among FBI’s most wanted terrorists and has a $5million-bounty for his arrest. He was the target of the Mamasapano operation.
She then called on President Beningo “Noynoy” Aquino III, who was at the audience, to immediately help provide justice.
“All i ask right now is justice not only for my husband who was brutally killed but for everyone who fought and fell…to our president we seek for your help to attain justice, please, sir president, please help us,” she said.