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President Duterte yesterday awarded a Gold Cross Medal to 2nd Lt. Estelito Saldua Jr. who was killed in an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf Group in Bohol last week.
Duterte visited the 23-year-old slain soldier’s wake at his residence in San Jose, Batangas right after arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from a week-long state visit to three countries in the Middle East during the Holy Week.
The commander-in-chief comforted Saldua’s parents, Gina and Estelito, and his siblings. He provided them financial assistance and a cellular phone with his contact information.
“Kung may kailangan kayo, maski anong problema na hindi ninyo masolusyunan, tawagan ninyo lang ako,” he told Saldua’s family.
Batangas Gov. Hermilando Mandanas gave scholarships up to college to the three siblings of Saldua, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Sinaglahi Class of 2015.
Meanwhile, Malacañang condemned the beheading of FB Ramona 2 captain Noel Besconde by the ASG on Maundy Thursday in Sulu.
“We express our sincerest condolences to the bereaved family of FB Ramon 2 captain, Noel Besconde, who met untimely death in the hands of the kidnap-for-ransom group Abu Sayyaf Group,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“We strongly condemn this senseless and coldblooded murder committed during the Holy Week,” he added.
(Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)