AFP chief is 'Manny Sundalo': It's our job
MANILA – Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Emmanuel Bautista on Thursday downplayed his "heroic" deed that has been been receiving positive reactions among netizens, saying it is part of his job.
Bautista is garnering praise for sending a chopper to the distressed victims of the Florida bus crash in Mt. Province at the request of Gang Badoy, founder of RockEd Philippines who is friend to some of the bus passengers.
"As what appears in social media, that's what happened. [We are] just simply doing our job and that's what every soldier is supposed to do – perform our mandate," Bautista told reporters.
"To protect the people and the state is part of our mandate. We're doing our job and it is nothing extra ordinary."
Badoy earlier shared that she called a soldier she only referred to as "Manny Sundalo" to request for an airlift for the survivors of the bus crash in Bontoc, Mt. Province.
At the time of their conversation, Badoy was not yet aware that the person on the other end of the line was the top AFP man.
"So I call this number late late at night to guarantee that a ride will come and fly sila Abby Sicam, Mylo Cabardo, and the rest to hospitals in Manila. I bugged him and was a bit stern and firm," Badoy said.
Badoy said Manny the soldier guaranteed her that a chopper will be sent.
"Yes Ma’am, I guarantee it," Badoy quoted Manny Sundalo as saying.
Badoy added that in an attempt to ensure help for the victims, she decided to name-drop AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala.
To this, Manny Sundalo replied, " Ay sige, Ma'am pero ako rin ang tatawagan ni Colonel."
Badoy said Manny the soldier did not fail her.
"True enough, when we got to Bontoc, the Air Force was there, available, willing, efficient. They flew everyone as best they could. Done and done. I was so grateful," she said.
"I was so grateful. So I [messaged] Manny the soldier again and said thank you, broke the news that Mylo didn’t make it but we were grateful for the chance to try everything for his family," Badoy added, referring to filmmaker, graphic and tattoo artist Christian "Mylo" Cabardo who was among the fatalities in the crash.
In response to Badoy's message of gratitude, Manny the soldier said, " At your service, Ma’am, condolence, sorry about your friends."
Badoy said she only realized the next day that Manny the soldier and the Armed Forces chief are one and the same when she saw his photo in the papers.
" Wasak! Lt. Gen Emmanuel Bautista was 'Manny Sundalo' on my phonebook! Aaaaaaugh! Dyahe!! Kaya pala he was saying 'Eh ako rin ang tatawagan ni Col. Zagala,'" Badoy said.
Badoy commended Bautista for his humility by not pulling rank on her while she was making demands.
"I'm so grateful hindi niya ako inastahan ng 'hindi mo ba ako kilala?' Or nag alpha-male-whatever, though he must've chuckled at how clueless I was when I was bugging him so late at night," Badoy said.