‘Bakit kailangang mangyari?’ Parents of couple in Maldives tragedy want answers


Posted at Jan 15 2019 09:22 PM

Leomer and Erika Joyce Lagradilla, who were married last month, died while on their honeymoon in Maldives. Photo by NQ Modern Photography

MANILA—The parents of a couple who died in their honeymoon in Maldives are still in disbelief over the fate that befell their children.

Leomer and Erika Joyce Lagradilla reportedly drowned off Dhiffushi island while snorkeling, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

“Bakit kailangang mangyari, ’yun? Mahirap tanggapin pero wala na po kaming magagawa. Ang hirap, panganay po namin, si Erika panganay rin po sa kanila,” said a tearful Leo Lagradilla, Leomer’s father.

(Why did it have to happen? It’s hard to accept it, but we can’t do anything. It’s hard, he was our firstborn, Erika was also the eldest child to them.)

“Tinatanong ko sila bakit, bakit kailangang mangyari? Sabi nila may plano si Lord para po sa dalawa.”

(I wonder why what happened had to happen. They said the Lord has a plan for them.)

Lagradilla said he has nothing but good words to describe his son, who supported his siblings’ studies.

“Walang word na hindi maganda para sabihin sa aking anak na si Leomer at ganu’n na rin kay Erika. Mabait, nagkatugmaan ’yung dalawa,” he said.

(There isn’t a bad word to describe Leomer; same goes for Erika. They were good people, they were meant for each other.)

Lagradilla said both families want to find out the truth behind the couple’s death.

“Sabi ng hotel meron daw life vest na suot pero nu’ng iprinesent na ’yung anak ko wala,” he said. “Ano ba ang totoo? Ang amin lang, s’yempre ‘yung totoo lang na ano’ng nangyari.”

(The hotel said they wore life vests but when their bodies were presented to us they weren’t wearing any. What is the truth? We just want to know what really happened.)

Foreign Affairs assistant secretary Elmer Cato said the department has yet to receive further details about the incident.

“We don’t really have the exact details kung ano nangyari (on what happened) except for what we read in the news and what the parents told us. Apparently the husband encountered some problems and was drowning and the wife had to come in and help,” he said.

Gloria Callada, Erika’s mother, meanwhile, thanked those who have supported their families, especially since her daughter was also the family’s breadwinner.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako sa mga taong tumulong. Kulang na kulang kami sa financial atsaka ang anak kong si Erika, siya lang ang sumususporta sa amin,” she said.

(I’m grateful to everyone who helped us. We’re really short on our finances, because Erika is the only one who earns for the family.)

The DFA has vowed to pay for the repatriation of the couple’s remains as friends and family have been trying to raise more than P1 million, or P634,000 for each body, to bring them home.