MANILA, December 31, 2005 (STAR) By Nestor Etolle - Retired and active Manila policemen will pay their last respects to former Sen. Robert Barbers tomorrow at the Manila Police District (MPD) headquarters, where his remains will be brought for an overnight vigil.

Describing the senator as "benefactor of Manila policemen," lower ranked officers and their officials are keenly awaiting the arrival of the remains of their departed former colleague.

Retired Chief Inspector Pete Angulo, one of Barbersí closest friends in the police service, said the former senator earned the respect and admiration of Manila policemen for his untiring assistance, including interceding for reinstatement to the Manila police force of those who were removed from the MPD for various causes.

"Many owe their return to the Manilaís Finest to Barbersí intercession," he said.

Barbers had served as chief of the Ermita police station, chief of the intelligence and special action division (then known as the MPDís ISAD), chief of the operations bureau (also called MPDís ASOB) which were two former MPD divisions handling high-profile crimes, and the police special task force of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

"Napakagaling na hepe," recalled SPO4 Ed Paterno of the homicide section, who served under Barbers.

The former senator had risen from the ranks, starting as a Manila beat patrol before assumed sensitive positions in the Manila police force. He was also taken by Sen. Alfredo Lim to the NBI when he was appointed director.

"Loyal yan talaga kay Lim," Paterno said, adding Lim had a high regard or Barbersí expertise in solving crimes.

Barbers was instrumental in the arrest of acknowledged drug kingpin Don Pepe Oyson and renegade soldier Col. Billy Bibit.

Paterno said Barbers always joined and led his men in the operations against criminals.

He added Barbers was a disciplinarian who would compel his erring men to ask for forgiveness for their victims of misdeeds.

"Minsan sa kalasingan ko, naasunto ko ang isang mamimimili ng alak na wala namang kasalanan sa batas. Nagalit si Barbers at pinahingi ako ng tawad dun sa mama," recalled Paterno.

Barbersí colleagues at the MPD also remember his ardent devotion to the Sto. NiŮo.

Inside his office is a statue of the infant Jesus, called "Sto. Nino de Policia" and dressed as a Manila policeman.

He always saw to it that the image is brought out in a procession every last Sunday of January. Manila policemen said the activity shall be continued by Barbersí sons.

Surigao City folk welcome Barbers home By Ben Serrano The Philippine Star 01/01/2006

SURIGAO CITY ó A heroís welcome< greeted the arrival here of the remains of former senator Robert Barbers yesterday afternoon, with thousands of Surigaonons standing along the city streets despite the rain for a last glimpse of the man they described as a "great leader" whom they will surely miss.

Barbersí remains, accompanied by his loyal friends and relatives, arrived on board a Philippine Air Force (PAF) C-130 cargo plane at 1:45 p.m. as hundreds of supporters waited in and outside the Surigao airport in Barangay Luna, four kilometers from the city.

Surigao del Norte Gov. Robert Lyndon Barbers, one of Barbersí sons, Surigao City Mayor Alfonso Casurra and local city and provincial officials came to bid farewell to the former senator.

But other provincial and top Caraga local officials who earlier said they would be at the airport were nowhere to be found.

Local opposition leaders in Surigao also failed to show up, though they extended their condolences to the Barbers family through emissaries.

The former senatorís wife, Virginia, their daughter and sons Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and Philippine tourism Authority (PTA) president Robert Dean Barbers and other close relatives and friends also arrived on board another aircraft.

The former senatorís remains will be flown back to Manila aboard the same PAF C-130 tomorrow.

Upon arrival, an impromptu funeral march ensued, with convoys of private and government-owned vehicles slowly moving along as somber escorts to the late senator through the major thoroughfares of Surigao City, generating two hours of traffic jams.

Barbersí remains were finally brought to the Surigao del Norte Convention Center at the Capitol compound here, where the public was given a chance to say farewell to a leader who served Surigao City, the province of Surigao del Norte and the rest of the country for nearly two decades.

"Surigao del Norte has really lost a great leader, we may have had leaders in the past but I would not say that their stature is the same as Bobby Barbers," Casurra told The STAR. "We consider him really a great leader. Great in the sense that he was able to give pride to the City of Surigao and the Surigaonons are proud of him also."

Casurra said many Surigaonons still marvel at how a local leader like Barbers, who died at age 61, rose on the national stage from his beginnings as a beat policeman to become congressman, secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG) during the Ramos administration, to his final post as senator of the Republic of the Philippines.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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