Duterte gives highest military honor to fallen Marawi soldier

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 20 2017 05:53 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte pays his last respects to fallen Army Capt. Rommel Sandoval before it was flown to Manila from Cagayan de Oro City in September. Sandoval, company commander of the 11th Scout Ranger Company, was killed in action while rescuing a wounded soldier in Marawi City.

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday conferred the highest military honor on a soldier who lost his life trying to save a wounded comrade in Marawi City.

Duterte posthumously awarded Army Capt. Rommel Sandoval, commanding officer of the 11th Scout Ranger Battalion, with the Medal of Valor during the 82nd founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo.

Sandoval’s widow Maria Ana Rosario Sandoval received the recognition.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines said Sandoval was given the accolade for “acts of conspicuous courage, gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as commanding officer of the 11th Scout Ranger Battalion." 

The military said Sandoval “distinguished himself in combat as he displayed extraordinary courage, bravery, sterling leadership and professionalism by offering the greatest sacrifice of giving his life to a fellow comrade, thereby keeping with him the finest tradition of Filipino soldiery.”

Aside from the Medal of Valor, Sandoval also posthumously received the Order of Lapu-Lapu (Magalong Medal), which is awarded to “officials and personnel of the government and private individuals who have rendered extraordinary service or have made exceptional contributions to the success of an activity pursuant to a campaign or advocacy of the President.”

Duterte also conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu (Kampilan and Kamagi medals) to 27 other soldiers.

Twenty-four soldiers who received the Kampilan medals were honored for “having been wounded as a direct result of their participation during the Marawi campaign against ISIS-inspired Maute terrorists,” the Armed Forces said.

Three other soldiers, namely Sgt. Edwin Osario, Sgt. Marvin Paderan, and Cpl. Andy Bitoon, were given the Kamagi medals for their contributions in the fight against Maute terrorists and communist rebels.

A total of 165 state troops were among more than 1,000 killed in the five-month war between government and Islamic State-linked Maute terrorists in Marawi City. 

Martial rule remains in effect in all of Mindanao amid rehabilitation efforts in the war-ravaged city.