Friday, 10 April 2009

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s eulogy during the necrological services for the eight Malacañang officials and staff

THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2009 | COMMENTARY
http://www.gov.ph/news/?i=24156

Heroes’ Hall, Malacanang Palace

This is a moment of deep personal sadness for me, an intense feeling of sadness I know is shared by all our Malacañan co-workers, for our friends and colleagues who fell in the line of duty for country and compatriot.

The depth of the grief we share tonight is so much over the passage onward of Malu Frostrom, of Caloy Clet and his aide Demy Reyno, of Perli, of Joe, of Major Sacatani and Captain Alegata, and of Staff Sgt. Perez who boarded that final flight of the Bell 412 last Tuesday afternoon to prepare for our inspection of the Halsema Highway construction.

Malu Frostrom as you all know was the closest co-worker of mine and she was the perfect co-worker. She was one of the most, if not, the most competent of the people I have ever worked with in all my life and one of the most trustworthy and loyal. And as what you have heard from the others, and as many of you know her, while her 24/7 work ethic matched mine, her sunshine personality was the perfect foil for my quick temper, so we got along famously.

Caloy Clet, you have heard from Jun Esperon how he came into our lives, operations officer and even when Jun went on to other stages of his own career, Caloy stayed with us. From Del Bangit’s time, we were already discussing, how we would ripen him to be future PSG Chief, when he was old enough, but as Providence would have it, he had his most shining moments in the equally prestigious and maybe more glamorous job of being my Senior Aide or Senior Military Assistant. Up to now, I remember, in the time of my father, President Diosdado Macapagal, PSG was not yet a group, it was a battalion. And Gen. Dizon, was his Senior Aide, Senior Military Assistant, the job that Caloy held. And he was the most glamorous officer in Malacanang and one of the most in the Armed Forces. And that is my vision of an SMA. But aside from just looking good next to me, I gave him an assignment that the other Senior Aides before him did not do – to alternate with Malu in doing advance work for my provincial engagements, and that is what he was doing. Advance work for our trip to make sure that Hasema Highway with its right-of-way problems and delays in the past that cost re-organization after re-organization will be finished by December.

Earlier tonight, when I was walking among the friends who are here to provide sympathy, I came across Ching Montinola and she told me that Caloy was one of her co-designers of the Malacanang Golf Clubhouse. And she said that he had an excellent taste and indeed that, I guess, goes with the glamor of being an SMA, and that it now convinces me even more how right he was for the job. Caloy was made SMA when he was still full colonel, it’s an 07 position but he was still full colonel. And one time, his wife came to see me with a common friend in Malacanang. And our common friend opened up the subject about why Caloy had not yet been made general and I said, well because we’re waiting for the Class ’79 to get promoted to General and then I would suppose, because he’s got this position, he’s going to be the first of the Class ’80 to be general. I said, no, there’s already a general, Gen. Segovia. So I think I called Gilbert. I said, “Gilbert, I thought that Caloy would be the first general of his class, so there’s already one so it’s about time," and that’s why as Jun said, because he was one of the first three of his class to become general -- and no sooner because at least we are saying our goodbye and giving our respects to a wonderful B/Gen. Caloy Clet.


JoeCap was one of my media supporters from way back, when I was still a senator. His wife Maret and his sister Celia were my colleagues in the Department of Social Welfare and Development and now Maret is a colleague today in the Office of the President. Joe is a loss not only to Maret and to Celia and to their children but I believe also to the Malacañan Press Corps who are grieving very much for him as I can perceive and other members of media, with whom he was when he was in media, and with whom he dealt in this job as Undersecretary of the Press in my Administration because I could observe that he had great camaraderie with them.

Perli, Malu’s tireless and uncomplaining deputy, though she was doing OPSOG work even before Malu began to handle my appointments. I remember her in 2004 making sure that she would make that separate line between doing work for the President and not making it work for the candidate. And I remember, my birthday last Sunday, Perli had a big smile and she kissed me happy birthday and she said, “Thank you, Ma’am, for the trust.” I also Thank you Perli, for your devotion.

The two pilots, Jun Esperon has told you how good they were, competent, veteran fliers. And I must say from my experience, conservative pilots. They would recommend not to take off if the weather was bad, they would recommend to turn back if the weather turned bad. So I know that on that fateful afternoon, they did what they believed was right, and they did their best. If the Lord took them and the others, it is because, as one of my best friends once told me, all of us have to die sooner or later; we are not immortal, it’s not for us to choose, because God knows when it is the best time for each one to go and that is the biggest comfort I can ever have, when loved ones die and the biggest comfort I can pass on to those who are grieving, the members of the family.

Sgt. Perez, the crew that was the silent presence, the quiet, reliable presence who would open and close the helicopter door for me. You know, when the plane was first found, there were only three bodies and we prayed that the five survived and were wandering somewhere in the forest. Then it was five, and we prayed for the three, then it was seven and the first news was it was Sgt. Perez who was not found and, knowing that he was right next to the door, I was hoping that he had survived like Nestor Mata survived the crash of President Magsaysay. But it turns out that he was indeed one of the first seven. And again, each one of us dies sooner or later, and the Lord knows which time is best for each of us.

Demy Reyno, Caloy Clet’s aide, was the youthful mother of a nine-month old baby. Her husband, the new single parent, is also in PSG. So I ask the PSG family to help him raise her baby. When I found out that she had a nine-month old, I remembered the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Now it will take a village to raise her baby – the Malacañan Park village.

Let us long remember them, all of them for their high sense of public duty and their quite odes to joy under a most challenging work environment. They have gone past earth’s mortal bounds but I have faith they are now in their place in Heaven. We send them off with our prayers and remembrance. To all my colleagues, maraming salamat.

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http://www.gov.ph/news/?i=24157

PGMA confers posthumous Presidential Medals of Merit on her late Palace aides; delivers moving eulogy in Malacanang wake
FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 2009 | PEOPLE, CULTURE & ARTS


Manila (PND) - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last night (Holy Thursday, April 9) conferred posthumous Presidential Medals of Merit (PMM) on all eight of her Palace aides – officers and staff alike – who died on Holy Tuesday (April 7) in an unfortunate chopper crash in a zero-visibility zone in the thickly forested Cordillera mountain-range boundary of Benguet and Ifugao provinces.

The President -- with her entire family present during the Palace vigil for the fallen aides -- conferred the Pampanguluhang Medalya ng Merito (Postumo) medals and the accompanying framed citations to the families of the victims after the late-evening mass held in their memory at the Heroes Hall of Malacanan Palace where the white coffins bearing their remains were brought for a joint vigil.

The first medal was given to the family of Staff Sgt. Roe Gem Perez who was cited by the President in her moving eulogy as “the (helicopter Bell 412) crew who was the silent presence, the quiet, reliable presence who would open and close the helicopter door for me.”

The late Palace aides led by three senior officials – Presidential Appointments Secretary and Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Undersecretary Malou Frostrom, Press Undersecretary for Operations and Media Relations Jose “Joecap” Capadocia, and Presidential Senior Military Aide (SMA) Brig. Gen. Carlos Clet – were on their way to an ocular inspection in Ifugao when the helicopter they were riding crashed in the mountainous boundary shared by Benguet and Ifugao.

Next to be given the presidential medal was the beautiful Petty Officer 3 (PO3) Demilyn “Demy” Reyno who left behind a grieving fellow member of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), Sgt. Jalicris Reyno of the presidential convoy, and their nine-month-old baby, Ivan.

For Baby Ivan Reyno, the President quoted the saying, “It takes an entire village to raise a child” and called on the entire PSG to help raise him.

“Demy Reyno, Caloy Clet’s aide, was the youthful mother of a nine-month-old baby. Her husband, the new single parent is also in PSG. So I ask the PSG family to help raise her baby. When I found out that she had a nine-month-old, I remembered the saying, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’

“Now it will take a village to raise her baby – the Malacanang Park village,” the President urged.

To the late pilots of the elite Presidential Airlift Wing (PAW) -- chopper pilot Major Rolando Sacatani, commander of the 252 squadron, and his co-pilot, Capt. Alvin Alegata, chief of Wing 3, the President stressed, thus: “The two pilots – (PMS head) Jun Esperon has told you how good they were -- competent, veterans fliers.

“And I must say from my experience, conservative pilots. They would recommend not to take off if the weather was bad; they would recommend to turn back if the weather turned bad.”

President Arroyo also paid tribute to PMS Asst. Director Perlita Bandayanon, the PMS’ perennial coordinator for Mindanao events, whom the President thanked for her tirelessness and devotion. “I remember her in 2004 making sure that she would make that separate line between doing work for the President and not making it work for the candidate.”

All the victims were members of the President’s advance party for provincial events; and compose the Office of the President’s Special Operations Group (OPSOG) made up of representatives from the Presidential Appointments Office, the PMS, the PSG, and the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), particularly the Media Accreditations and Relations Office (OPS-MARO), and, lately, of the Presidential News Desk (OPS-PND).

Also delivering their own moving eulogies during last night’s Heroes Hall wake for the late Palace aides were Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, PMS head Esperon, and Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.

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