MANILA, Philippines - Classmates and teachers at the Tala Elementary School in Caloocan say they sorely miss stray bullet victim Stephanie Nicole Ella.
A desk in front of the class was conspicuously empty as none of the students wanted to occupy the seat of their departed classmate.
Her former seatmate, Alexandra Quinto, says she admired Stephanie because of her stellar performance in class.
"Lagi po siyang tama sa mga test," explains Alexandra, adding that she was afraid to sit on the desk she shared with the girl.
Teacher Arlene Arellano admits she almost forgot that Stephanie was gone, even calling her name during the roll call. Arellano reiterates that she was one of her best students.
"Kaya po sa harap nakaupo yan kasi bukod sa medyo maliit, bibo sumagot," says Arellano.
The 7-year-old Stephanie died last week in the hospital after getting hit on the head by a stray bullet on New Year's Day. Her family has been calling for the arrest of the perpetrator.
Police have identified 4 people who admitted to discharging a firearm on New Year's eve.
Stephanie's remains will be brought to the Tala Elementary School on Friday, and will be buried on Saturday.