Relatives remember loving husbands, expectant father among those killed in fatal clash
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - January 27, 2015 - 7:17pm

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao - Two police officers who perished in fierce firefights with Moro rebels on Sunday were known for being kind husbands while another was a newlywed expecting a son whom he thought would be his lookalike.

Slain Inspector Joey Gamutan from Barangay Begang in Isabela City in Basilan was known to neighbors as a kind man and a good husband and father to his children.

Gamutan was one of six officers of the police’s elite Special Action Force (SAF) killed, along with more than 40 others, in an encounter with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerillas in Mamasapano town in Maguindanao before dawn Sunday.

“He was a good, polite man. The Gamutan family house is just across the street from where our house is. He is a fine man and is loved by neighbors,” said a childhood friend, Luzette Narsico, also a resident of Barangay Begang.

Narsico said Gamutan’s parents were good neighbors, too.

Gamutan is survived by wife, Marilyn, and two children, who are residing in Zamboanga City.

His widow said he was a doting father, who was serious in seeing through the welfare of their children.

“He was a responsible father who would always check on the condition of our children whenever he is away,” she said.

Gamutan grew up with relatives in Barangay Sta. Clara in Lamitan City, the capital of Basilan, just few kilometers away from Barangay Begang.

Inspector Ryan Pabalinas, whose wife Erica is also from Basilan’s seaport capital, Isabela, was also known for being good and respectful of in-laws.

Pabalinas, of Visayan descent, was from Gen. Santos City in Central Mindanao.

Delia Biel, a sponsor in the wedding of Pabalinas, said the slain officer was a jolly and courteous man, who would visit her every time he was in Basilan.

“Magalang, mabait at isang mabuting anak si Ryan,” Biel said.

Erica said her husband was proud of his being a member of the SAF.

Another fatality in the SAF-MILF encounter, Inspector Gednat Tabde, who was from the Mountain Province in the far north, was known in the force as a cheerful man.

Surviving companions guarding the morgue of the Army's 6th Infantry Division in Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, where his remains are being embalmed, said Tabde, too, was just as polite to his subordinates, relatives and friends.

Tabde’s wife, Leah, a registered nurse who works as a casual employee of the city government of Lamitan, is six months pregnant.

Leah, who finished a nursing degree at the Brent College in Zamboanga City, married Tabde in 2014.

“He was very happy when medical ultrasound reading showed his unborn child is a boy. He would always say he was certain the child would be his look-alike,” a cousin of Tabde’s wife, Ryan Uy, said in Chavacano dialect.

Tabde’s in-laws said he believed his son would bring him good luck and was so excited to see him delivered safely.

“He was in fact saving money for his child’s delivery. He was preparing for it and was so excited about having a son,” said one of them.

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