CAGAYAN DE ORO - Prelan and Jessa Vallecer still could not believe how they lost their 22-year-old brother Corporal Premark Vallecer on his second year as a soldier.
Premark died along with his 10 comrades in an encounter with the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul town, Sulu last Friday.
Prelan described his older brother as "mahinhin" and said most of them discouraged him to become a soldier.
"Hindi ko talaga inakala maging sundalo siya, mahinhin kasi," he said.
(I didn't expect him to become a soldier because he's demure.)
Despite being discouraged by family members, Prelan said his older brother flew to Capas, Tarlac after graduating high school to try his luck and become a soldier.
Jessa, the youngest, recalled her Premark as a jokester.
"Yung kuya ko sir talagang parang isip bata, kahit malaki na kami naglalaro pa rin kami," she said.
The young corporal's remains is now with his family in Kibawe, Bukidnon. He was accorded with arrival honors by the 10th Infantry Division in Davao City, Sunday.
Premark will be laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a dream of his, according to his siblings.
Friday's clash in Sulu also left 14 government soldiers wounded.