Even after January 30 which President Benigno Aquino III decreed as the National Day of Mourning, tributes continued to pour in for the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) policemen killed in a firefight in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25.
The PNP SAF’s mission was to serve the warrant of arrest to two suspected terrorists, Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan and Filipino bomb maker Basit Usman, who were confirmed to be hiding in the area.
The day of mourning were marked by policemen who went to the streets to “march for justice,” the public offered prayers and flowers, and Philippine flags all over the country were flown at half-mast. In a necrological service Friday morning at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, fellow SAF personnel shared memories of their fallen comrades.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said a religious group, Filipinos for Life, has also created a prayer chain in their honor with one person committing to pray and light a candle specifically for one officer or commando assigned to him or her.
Abroad, masses were held and attended by the Filipino community in Winnipeg, Canada to condole and show solidarity with the bereaved families.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has informed the Philippine government that a biological sample taken from a man believed to be top terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan, matched the DNA of his brother who is detained in a US facility in Guantanamo. Marwan was believed killed during the raid on Jan. 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao by the SAF.