Remembering the victims of the September blast

CLOSE  to two months after the tragic night of September 2, people return to the Roxas night market where used clothing stalls are piled high with stocks and food stalls do brisk business.

But clearly, things are now different.

Amidst the noise and pungent smoke lies a spot adorned with flowers, candles and space for people to pray for the souls of those whose lives were brutally snuffed that horror-filled night. It is in this space where 15 people died and 69 were wounded.


PRAYING for the victims of the September 2 blast. FILE PHOTO


For Catholics, every November 1 and 2, cemeteries all over the country come to life when the families visit their dead.

But more than tradition, the occasion has also become a family affair as tents are put up for picnics, games, or story-telling about a dearly departed.

The Church, however, said that the people should understand that the occasion is not a moment to hold picnics or do something that would degrade the proper way to remember the dead and honor the saints.

Fatalities kin observes Undas

For the relatives and friends of the fatalities, a visit to the memorial monument to pay tribute to their departed love ones is on their agenda.

Rosalie Depalubos, sister of Vicenta Asperin, told TIMES that her family would gather at the grave of her sister to light candles and pray for her soul.

Asperin is the five-month-old pregnant massage therapist who died in the hospital 10 days after the incident.

But as a Jehova’s Witness, Depalubos said that she does not mark All Souls Day but will pray for strength for her family who has to deal with the painful loss.

She also said that her family and the relatives of the other victims are still in deep mourning. Depalubos who fondly called her sister Bising said that she misses her sister very much.


THE COMMEMORATIVE marker of the blast site. BING GONZALES

“I have so many things to say to her… I want to say that we, her family, miss her,” she said.

According to Depalubos, Asperin always share her learning from the bible to her clients and they appreciate that.

“It is difficult to accept what happened but we are trying to cope with the tragedy,” she said, finding comfort in the words from the Bible.

Case filed

The authorities filed criminal complaints before the City Prosecution Office (CPO) on Sept. 14 against nine respondents, one identified male, five unidentified male and three unidentified female.

Government prosecutors initially vowed to resolve the case on the second week of October but, with additional complaints filed against the arrest of three suspects, they said they needed more time to resolve the case.

According to Prosecutor Jay Karel Sanchez, spokesperson of the CPO, they are not sure if TJ Tagadaya Macabalang, Wendel Apostol Facturan and Musali Mustapha were part of the nine original respondents or additional respondents.

Macabalang, Facturan and Mustapha were arrested on Oct. 4 in a checkpoint at Cotabato City. Seized from their possession were several improvised explosives, a submachine gun, a .45 caliber, a motorcycle without plate and mobile phones.

Meanwhile, during the subscription of affidavits, a mother of one of the fatalities told the police that she doesn’t want to file a complaint because she is frightened that the perpetrators would get revenge.

But the police assured that she and her family along with other families of the slain victims are safe from the perpetrators.

The police also told her that they should proceed with the filing to give justice to the victims.