Saturday, August 8, 2009

Rewards heaped on honor guards

The Philippine STAR, SATURDAY, AUGUST 8,2009, Page 1

With Cecille Suerte Felipe, James Mananghaya

The four honor guards who stood
throughout the day long funeral procession
for former President Corazon Aquino have
been given cash rewards by various donors
in recognition of a job well done.
Former senator Agapito "Butz" Aquino,
brother-in-law of Mrs. Aquino, along with
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, donated P25,000
to each of the four honor guards.
Aquino and Cayetano personally handed
the cash awards to Police Officer 1 Dani-
l0 Malab Jr., Armv Pfc. Antonio Cadiente,
Airman Second Class Gener Laguindan and
Navy Petty Officer 3 Edgardo Rodriguez at
a ceremony in Makati City yesterday.
Aquino said the money came from private
donors who considered the four as symbols for the
thousands who showed support for the late president.
Aquino said the donors recognized the sacrifice
of the four, who stood motionless during the nine hour
funeral procession.
The STAR president Miguel Belmonte revealed
that an anonymous donor also sent P25,000 for each
of the honor' guards.
Aquino said the family could not possibly express
proper thanks to each of those who condoled, and
so "we chose symbols for the people,"
He said his niece, Kris Aquino-Yap, wanted to
thank everyone but it would be difficult to do because
there were just too mam·.
"The four were the most visible during the nine hour
funeral procession. It's not an easy task standing
for nine hours under the rain, getting hungry,
and ignoring the call of nature," he said. '.
"(What they did was) bring back the condolence
in the (uniformed) forces," Aquino said,
The Makati Business Club also acknowledged the
stoic heroism displayed by the four honor guards who
earned the admiration and respect of the public.
Mrs. Aquino's grandson Jiggy Aquino-Cruz described
them as the "Fantastic FOUL"
Malab, who represented the Philippine National
Police (PNP) in the honor guards, said they were
grateful (or the monetary rewards given to them,
Malab said they found themselves busy granting
interviews from the media.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman
Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner added the four honor
guards are even scheduled to appear as contestant
in "Singing Bee," a television musical show of ABS-CBN next week.
On Thursday night, the "Fantastic Four" were guests
at a dinner hosted by the Cojuangco-Aquino family.
Malab said thev attended a ma% before the dinner
and posed for pictures with the members of the
Cojuangco-Aquino family. .
Malab told the family that being part of the last moments of late
former president was his memorable experience and the
recognition and praises he earned from the effort was
just too much,
"I thought our orders to stand as honor guards during the
funeral was part of our ordinary duties, but I realized it carried
a lot of responsibilities on our part. We didn't realized our little contribution to
stand as honor guards for the late president made us
the inspiration for the people," he said.
Aside from promotion, recognition, and monetary rewards, Malab, a
member of the PNP Headquarters Support Service (PNPHSS), was given a
week long rest by his superiors, Chief Superintendent
Franklin Alpabeto and Senior Inspector Jesus Manalo.
Even without the promotion, recognition, monetary
reward, Malab said he would stand for nine
hours again as an honor guard if he has to.
"It was a great honor for us to have stood beside the
former president, we never knew we would be given
this much attention," Rodriguez, for his part, said.
Cadiente also said they never expected the recognition
and admiration for their effort.
."We never expected this, that we would be given
this kind of treatment but we really appreciate it, the
rewards they gave us in appreciation for what we
did would go a long way for our families," he said.
Laguindan said that the recognition that they got
alter servll1g as honor guards made them feel that
every assignment in the Armed Forces is never too
little for anyone.
"Even if, as a soldier, you are not fighting out in
the field, even If you are assigned in the office, we
should do our share and do our job in the best way
we could," he said.
Rodriguez, on the other hand, said the financial rewards
given to them would be a big help for his family.
He said he would use the money for their house
and sustain the needs of his three children.
Rodriguez said his youngest child was very happy
seeing him on TV.He added he would be grateful
if the Senate approves the resolution commending
them for their effort.
Rodriguez admitted that he almost buckled during
the nine-hour funeral procession.
"My knees were already hurting because my feet
were soaked by the rain. I was praying hard and kept
reminding myself not to give way to fatigue and
show them what it takes to be in the avy," he said.
Rodriquez said the crowd gave him inspiration
to continue standing.
"After the funeral procession reached the destination
I was not even able to walk straight.
knees had locked for standing straight so I had to
be assisted down the truck," he said.

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