By Hanah Tabios
The brother of singer-songwriter Ria Bautista was among the victims of a fatal aircraft crash at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Sunday evening, March 29.
In a Facebook post, the former Paramita lead vocalist mourned the passing of her younger brother, Cenover Nicandro “Nicko” Baustista, 33, a doctor, who was among the eight victims of the Lionair plane crash that left no survivors.
Nicko’s close friend told the Manila Bulletin that he belonged to the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) College of Medicine Class of 2013.
“I lost my brother on that flight. No words can describe how devastating it is to lose a family member in such a horrific way. How do you process something like this,” Ria said.
Aside from Nicko, one of his older sisters is also a family physician who is working at the frontlines of the pandemic.
Ria said her brother “fought like a hero,” just like many other frontline workers who have been sacrificing their lives to fight coronavirus disease.
On March 21, Nicko’s last public Facebook post was a tribute to a fallen doctor who died after being exposed to a “lying” patient.
Though he did not disclose any name, it seemed that he was referring to his fellow PLM graduate Israel Bactol, a young cardiologist who lost the battle against COVID-19 last March 21.
Nicko urged patients to disclose their health status and travel history as not doing so may endanger the lives of the healthcare workers.
He said: “When you lie, we die.”
“Consider your actions. We try our best to protect you from this horrid disease, but who will protect us? Kindly do your part. Stay at home. Don’t lie to your doctors. Check your privilege,” he added.
His last post ended with a prayer for peace for the fallen doctor, promising that the remaining frontliners like him will continue the fight.
However, on Sunday late night, his sister Ria wrote: “RIP, Nicko. I love you my brother. I will honor you forever.”
Also paying tribute to Nicko was Mandaluyong City councilor Charisse Abalos, who posted a photo of the physician on her Facebook page with the caption: “I pray for the souls lost in the Lionair Plane Crash. Among them is Dr. Cenover Nicandro “Nicko” Bautista MD, a doctor in the Surgery Dept. at MCMC (Mandaluyong City Medical Center). We lost a frontliner and a colleague. Rest In Peace.”
Meanwhile, the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) is mourning the passing of another one of its doctor alumni barely two weeks after the death of a young cardiologist.
PLM President Noel Leyco said in a Facebook post that Nicko, a 2014 graduate of the university’s College of Medicine, died “while performing his sworn duty to save lives.” (With a report from Minka Tiangco)