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PIA Press Release

PGMA condoles with family of Army officer killed in MILF ambush

Iloilo City (25 August) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrived today in this city to pay tribute to the heroism of Lt. Col. Angel Benitez, the highest-ranking military officer to die in action when he was killed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the on-going hostilities in Minadanao and to personally condole with the Benitez family.

The President, all dressed in black, arrived at about 10 a.m. at the Benitez residence in Tabuc Suba, Jaro from the Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan. After alighting from the Presidential car, she was met by Maria Elena "Cookie" Benitez, widow of Col. Benitez.

The President was accompanied by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales, Sr., Presidential Management Staff Chief Cerge Remonde, Presidential Assistant for Westen Visayas Dr. Raul Banias and local officials who met her earlier at the airport led by Iloilo City 1st District Congressman Raul Gonzales, Jr., Governor Niel Tupas and Mayor Jerry Trenas and PNP 6 Regional Director Isagani Cuevas.

The President had a brief conversation with the wife of the slain highest-ranking military officer and was introduced to his four children, the youngest aged nine and the eldest, 15. The President extended to Mrs. Benitez the condolence of a grateful nation.

It will be recalled that Benitez, 40, who is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1990, was killed in an ambush by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerillas in Kolambugan town, Lanao del Norte last August 18.

After meeting with Mrs. Benitez and her family, the President also met with the wife of the late Cpl. Angelo Abeto who died in action in Tipo-Tipo, Basilan when MILF members attacked their Batallion. Accompanying Mrs. Abeto were the slain Corporal's mother, his sister Ann Grace Abeto and an uncle.

According to Presidential Assistant Raul Banias, he was instructed by the President to see to the scholarship for Ann Grace Abeto, who is visually impaired with a government educational institution.

The President left for Guagua, Pampanga before 12 noon for the unveiling of the statue of Rufino Cardinal Santos at the Immaculate Concepcion Church. (PIA) [top]

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Philippine Official Gazette | Office of the President | Presidential Communications Operations Office
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