MANILA, January 3, 2004  (STAR) By Evelyn Macairan - Young actor Marcelino Antonio "Miko" Sotto III was brought to his final resting place at the Loyola Memorial Park in Parañaque City past noon yesterday by his family and fans numbering close to 4,000.

The casket of 21-year-old Miko arrived at the cemetery at around 12:15 p.m., with the male members of the Sotto clan serving as his pall bearers. He was laid to rest by 1 p.m.

Showbusiness personalities, including Amy Austria, Lara Melissa de Leon, Christopher de Leon and wife Sandy Andolong, Tirso Cruz, Miko’s co-actors in the television show Click and his girlfriend Angel Locsin were also present.

"Lord, Thy will be done," were the words uttered by Miko’s mother, actress and radio broadcaster Ali Sotto as she bid her son goodbye.

In an earlier interview with Ali, she admitted that her faith was wavering because of her son’s sudden death. However, yesterday, she appeared more composed and accepted his death.

"It is very difficult to bury a son. Dapat sila ang maglilibing sa akin," she said. I will love you with every fiber of my being. I will not forget you," Ali said.

She was able to overcome her grief because of the continuing outpour of support from her family, Miko’s fans and the heartwarming stories about him.

Senior Police Officer 2 Cesar Alawis said they deployed 20 policemen and 35 men from the Traffic Management Office to maintain order in the area.

People who gathered around the burial ground endured hours of heat and hunger as they waited for his casket.

Three women, Amy San Pedro, 51, of Muntinlupa City, Ella Gatdula, 56, of Laguna and Cecilia la Chica, 56, of Sta. Cruz, Manila came as early as 5:30 a.m.

"We are avid fans of the Sotto family. We always watch Eat Bulaga and Click. Napakabata pa niya para mawala. Para bang isang miyembro ng pamilya din namin ang nawala, gusto lang namin ipakita ang aming pakikidalamhati," one fan said.

Brazilian nun Nicole dos Santos, 38, of the Daughter of Mary Immaculate School, who had been living in Manila for 11 years was among those in the crowd. She is a regular listener of radio station dzBB, where Ali is one of its broadcasters.

"I want to give her a rosary and to tell her that we are sad because Miko is gone, but he is only gone physically. He is in heaven and he will watch over her and pray for us," she said.

Karen Kelly, the US Embassy press attache, was also there. "This is a terrible time for the family to face. I want to let them know that they are not alone. We offer our condolences and sincere prayers to each and everyone of them."

Locsin, Miko’s girlfriend of six months, was carrying a violet envelope that contained a love letter he gave her. "Even after Christmas wala pa kaming regalo sa isat-isa so nung tinanong niya ako kung ano gift ang gusto ko sabi ko gawan nya ko ng love letter."

Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III described Miko as a loving nephew who always looked after his cousins, at times acting as their protector.

Tears flow for young actor By Nikko Dizon The Philippine Star 01/03/2004

"Baby ko, you have done so well. You have exceeded my worldly standards. I’m so very proud of you," actress and radio commentator Ali Sotto said in her eulogy, while trying to hold back tears as she said goodbye to her son, Miko, yesterday morning.

But tears flowed freely from the estimated 300 people — family, friends, and fans – who paid their last respects to the young actor at a chapel of the Sanctuario de San Antonio Church in Forbes Park, Makati City.

Ali, who is estranged from Miko’s father, Maru, asked people not to forget her son and his "gift of laughter."

She also said that the family has "taken so much comfort" from the outpouring of love and support from those who condoled with them.

Ali recalled that on their last TV guesting just two weeks ago, her son promised to take care of her.

Miko was the younger of the two sons of Ali and Maru Sotto, the brother of Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto and comedians, Vic and Val Sotto.

Ali had just arrived from a three-year stay in Mexico with her diplomat husband and resumed her radio show on dzBB when a freak accident claimed the life of her son.

Miko, whose full name was Marcelino Antonio Sotto III, died in a fall from the ninth floor of a Mandaluyong City condominium last Dec. 29. He was 21.

The Mandaluyong police had ruled out foul play in the incident.

Miko’s remain lay in state for a week at the Capilla del Señor and Capilla de la Virgen at the Sanctuario de San Antonio Church.

Miko’s relatives and friends from showbusiness wore white as they bid him farewell. Some, like his uncles, had black armbands.

His fans flocked to the chapel, hoping to get a final glimpse of the actor.

Tasing, a 34-year-old housemaid, told The STAR she asked permission from her Korean employer to attend the funeral mass for the actor at the chapel.

She said she never failed to catch Miko on Click, GMA 7’s youth-oriented weekly show. The actor was among the show’s original cast members.

She said she wanted to see Miko’s remains, but was not sure if fans were allowed inside the chapel.

A busload of members of the D’Original Fans Club of Miko Sotto also went to the Makati church.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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