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Nicole buried; kin dismayed with case

Pete Laude - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Seven-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella was finally laid to rest yesterday afternoon with her family expressing disappointment over the failure of authorities to arrest the one who fired the stray bullet that killed her.

“I hope the authorities would open wide their eyes and arrest the real gunman of my daughter. With her burial today, I’m hoping the justice we are fighting for Nicole would not also be swept under her casket,” the victim’s father Aquilino said.

Under an intermittent drizzle, the white funeral car adorned with white and pink balloons left the Lord’s Flock Sanctuary International chapel in Barangay 185, Malaria, Caloocan City at around 11 a.m.

The funeral convoy, which included some 300 motorcycle riders and 50 cars, jeepneys, barangay and police patrol vehicles, arrived at the Sanctuario de Paz in Barangay Minuyan, Norzagaray, Bulacan over an hour later.

The vehicles, including that from the media, were also adorned with balloons in white and pink – Nicole’s favorite colors – and carried banners marked “Justice for Nicole.”

At around 1 p.m., Nicole’s white casket was lowered at the section 2-C lawn lot of the Sanctuario de Paz.

During the Mass, Pastor Renato Franco appealed to authorities and the Ellas’ neighbors to help the family in their quest for justice.

“We are praying that our quest for justice for Nicole would not be easily forgotten. We are not yet finished,” the pastor said as he appealed to gun owners to be “responsible.”

Marilyn Lauren, principal at Tala Elementary School where Nicole was a first grader, said the girl’s death served as an “eye opener” both for the citizens and the authorities on the dangers of indiscriminate firing.

“Nicole was a sacrificial lamb and her life was not a total waste for it awakened us, the government and the gun owners, on the risk and consequences of indiscriminate firing,” Lauren said.

BARANGAY MINUYAN CALOOCAN CITY DURING THE MASS FLOCK SANCTUARY INTERNATIONAL MARILYN LAUREN NICOLE PASTOR RENATO FRANCO PAZ SANCTUARIO STEPHANIE NICOLE ELLA
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