By Nel Andrade
CARDONA, Rizal – “Ma, huwag kang mag-alala. Tatawid kami sa pedestrian lane para kung sakaling ma-aksidente kami, may makukuha tayo (Ma, don’t worry, we’ll make sure we’ll use the pedestrian lane while crossing the street so we will be compensated in case of accident).”
This was the response of one of the Lambrinto brothers when their mother cautioned them before they left home on that last Dec.17.
Mrs. Lambrinto never thought that time that it was a death premonition.
“Yun na pala ang ibig niyang sabihin na maa-aksidente na siya (I only realized now that what he meant was he will meet an accident),” Mrs. Lambrinto told Manila Bulletin in between sobs while being interviewed at the barangay hall of Barangay Looc here.
Hours later, the mother was informed that her two sons – John Lester Lambrinto, 18, his brother Jimbert, 17 – died in a road accident with seven other victims.
With the accident, Barangay Looc will be spending a gloomy Christmas season following the death of the Lambrinto brothers and another neighbor, Jan Brian Madaya, 16, then that road crash. All three were residents of Gil Domingo Street.
Chairman Diomedes Blanco of Barangay Looc said the entire village will be in mourning as three of their neighbors died in the road accident.
Barangay Looc residents told Manila Bulletin that the holiday celebration will still be observed but with less singing and merrymaking in front of videoke machines, a typical Christmas Day celebration in most parts of the country, as a gesture of respect to the family of their neighbors who perished.
The Lambrinto brothers, both senior high school students; and Madaya, were all students of ICCT Binangonan Campus. They were among the nine fatalities in the three-vehicle smashup early Tuesday morning.
Police identified the other fatalities as Maximo Julian, 60; Elizabeth Rios, 61; Joshua Salimbot, 20, of Angono; Vince Jayson Barrera, 25 of Jalajala; Hilario Cuizon; 54; and Pablo Ramos, 71, the driver of the dump truck, of San Mateo.
Aside from the three students, Rios, who owns a local funeral parlor, also died in the crash, along with Barrera, who was reportedly supposed to get married.
Most of fatalities were passengers of a Cainta-bound passenger jeepney that came from Tanay.
Sunshine Joy Santos, daughter of the operator of the ill-fated passenger jeepney told Manila Bulletin while at the police station Tuesday night that her family is saddened by what happened to the fatalities. The jeepney driver, Fernando Bandril Jr., 52, is still in the hospital for severe head injuries.
Police said Barrera, one of the fatalities from Sipsipin, Jalajala, was on his way to his fiance’s house when he met the accident.
A survivor, Ronilo Caballes, the driver of the 22-wheeler truck, told Manila Bulletin that when he saw the dump truck plowing the passenger jeep, he just covered his head and uttered a prayer thinking that he, too, would get killed as the dump truck that came from the downhill Diversion Road had hit the jeepney with tremendous impact that made the jeepney spin and throwing the passengers off the vehicle before it was sandwiched by the 22-wheel truck and the dump truck.
Village rescuers said the bodies of the victims were scattered on the road while some of them with head almost dismembered.
As of noon time Wednesday, relatives of the three ICCT students were still waiting for the remains of the fatalities following the autopsy procedure being undertaken by an authorized funeral parlor.
The towing of the trailer of the 22-wheel truck out of the place of the accident around 10 p.m. Tuesday night took several hours to finish resulting in a long queue of vehicles along the National Highway.
READ MORE: 9 die in three-vehicle collision in Rizal