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ZAMBOANGA CITY—“If I assault, follow me. If I falter, urge me on. If I retreat, kill me.”
This was the favorite line of Lt. Col. Cristobal Julian Paolo “Tiny” Perez when he was on combat duty.
Perez was tagged as the No. 1 enemy of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan. His operations in 2000 to 2004 resulted in the deaths of a number of Abu Sayyaf bandits.
On Monday night, Perez, 46, was shot and killed by motorcycle-riding men outside his residence on Buenbrazo Drive in Barangay Guiwan here.
Police are still investigating the attack.
Although assigned to the First Tabak Infantry Division in Pulacan, Zamboanga del Sur, Perez came here on Sunday to celebrate Father’s Day with his wife May.
Perez was a graduate of Philippine Military Academy Class 1993.
A few years ago, he returned to Basilan as head of the 18th Infantry Battalion.
When Perez left Basilan for a post in the First Infantry Division in Pulacan, he left behind several projects for children in Basilan.
Jose Manuel Mamauag, former human rights commissioner, recalled Perez’s determination to enroll his soldiers in human rights classes.
“He’s a human rights defender in military uniform,” Mamauag said.
Perez’s remains lie at St. Peter Funeral Parlor here.
LT. COL. Cristobal Julian Paolo Perez in Ungkaya Pukan town in Basilan province shortly after soldiers discovered a bomb-making facility of terrorists. JULIE ALIPALA/INQUIRER MINDANAO
LT. COL. Cristobal Julian Paolo Perez in Ungkaya Pukan town in Basilan province shortly after soldiers discovered a bomb-making facility of terrorists. JULIE ALIPALA/INQUIRER MINDANAO

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