Justice remains elusive for SAF 44 families

PALO, Leyte – Justice remains elusive for families of the 44 members of the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Special Action Force (SAF) killed in the botched manhunt for international terrorist Marwan in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015.

Kristine Clemencio, wife of the late PO1 Mark Lory Clemencio, said they have yet to achieve the justice that they are seeking.

''Some are saying that since our families have received the benefits that justice has already been served but I don't think so because, for me, justice means those who are liable for the death of our loved ones have to be behind bars," Kristine said at the wreath-laying ceremony for the eighth anniversary of “SAF 44” at the Police Regional Office 8 Bantayog ng Bayani, Camp Kangleon here on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

She called on President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for support to make those liable as some of them are powerful.

Kristine, who was accompanied by her 11-year-old son during the event, lamented that it is still hard for them to accept the fate of their loved ones and that she hopes that their gallantry and heroism be remembered annually not only for the families but also to serve as an inspiration to other police officers.

Lt. Gen. Michael John Dubria, Philippine National Police chief directorial staff, led the ceremony in the presence of the families of the SAF 44 residing in Samar and Leyte provinces.

In February 2017, then President Duterte, through Proclamation No.164, declared Jan. 25 of every year as the day of national remembrance for the heroic sacrifice of SAF 44.

Aside from the mandatory benefits, the families of the fallen heroes have received housing, scholarships, and livelihood.