A mother’s song to a future police general

February 01, 2020

“Tying little shoe laces, Wiping off dirty faces, Are just a couple of things That a mother will do...

Mending a broken heart, Is only just a part, Of the care and the love, That I’ve given you...

With a Kool-aid smile, And a sparkle in your eyes, I wrap you in my arms, And whisper this advice...

Be strong, be kind,  Be patient and in time, You’ll find out, my son, What true love is all about.

Be faithful and be true, Show love in all you do, Then you’ll know, just how, You make your mother proud.

Now, little boy days have passed, And you’ve grown up so fast, But in my heart

That little boy will never be far...

So on this blessed day, There’s so much I want to say, But above all, I thank God

For the man that you are...

With a tender smile,  And a twinkle in your eyes, I wrap you in my arms, And whisper this advice...

Be strong, be kind,  Be patient and in time, You’ll find out, my son, What true love is all about.

Be faithful and be true,  Show love in all you do, Then you’ll know, just how

You make your mother proud. You’ve made your mother so proud...”

THESE are the lyrics of a perfect mother-to-son song made by an American composer which adorns the wall of my friend Bong Caramat, the fighting director of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group.

What’s special in the lyrics is that it forms part of a handwritten letter to Caramat by his mother Maxima who passed away years before he earned his 1st star last Tuesday, while riding on the crest of the success of the PNP-DEG in hauling over P3.4. billion worth of shabu since October last year.

I was among the crowd when newly-promoted Police Brigadier General Romeo ‘Bong’ Caramat Jr. was sworn in to his new rank by PNP chief, General Archie Gamboa  in the presence of his wife Mamilyn, daughter Kimberly, son Patrick and other members of his immediate family led by his U.S.-based 79-year old father Romeo Sr. and sister Melendre.

In his short speech, the ‘warrior’ from Philippine Military ‘Tanglaw-Diwa’ Class of 1992 thanked President Duterte, Gen. Gamboa, Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año and all the other people who have been instrumental to his successful career and eventual promotion to the star-rank.

I was sitting beside friends, newly-retired Brig. Gen. Dennis Basngi of PMA Class 1988 and two members of PMA Class 1990, Brig. Gen. Alex Sintin and Col. Ato Bisnar when the native of Mapandan, Pangasinan briefly paused for a while, his voice cracked and apparently shed a tear as he fondly remembered his late mother Maxima whom he said should have be in that stage to see her son become a general.

I learned that months before she passed away due to an illness, the woman surprised her son with the  handwritten lyrics of ‘A Mother’s Song,’ a popular song that captures the loving bond between a mother and her son, with lyrics from his little boy days to his wedding day.”

Mrs. Caramat patiently copied the lyrics of the song with the last extra words: ‘Bong, you’ve made your mother proud!!! Yes, I’m exceedingly happy for what I see in you that’s why I’m sending you these lines for I may not have the time to let you know how proud I am as your humble mommy.  I love you and I’m so proud of you, my dear son! You’re beyond compare! Love always, Mommy.”

Caramat got the letter from his mother when he was still the Bulacan Police Provincial Office director. During one of my visits in his former PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force office, I saw the framed handwritten letter and got curious about it. Bong, like a young boy missing his mother told me all. I agree with him. Boys and men indeed really cry, just like me who also lost my mother when I was only 21-years old.

The PNP-DEG director became the 4th member PMA Class 992 to become a 1-star police general. The others are PNP spokesman, Brig. Gen. Bernie Banac, PNP-Anti-Kidnapping Group director, Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo and PNP Legal Service director, Brig. Gen. Matthew Baccay.

Caramat, the 1st director of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group until he was replaced by his mistah, Colonel and soon-to-be Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee, is currently the head of the main PNP anti-narcotics unit tasked by Gen. Gamboa to launch a more aggressive crackdown against ‘high-value targets’ in the country.

As PNP-IMEG director, and before it, as head of the PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force, Caramat led operations which resulted in the arrest of nearly 100 active policemen found to be involved in different criminal activities including ‘hulidap’ and ‘bangketa’ activities, robbery-extortion and kidnapping-for-ransom since June 2018. PNP-CITF agents also shot dead at least nine rogue policemen in gun battles during the period.

Since Gen. Gamboa was designated by President Duterte as PNP Officer-in-Charge last October 14, the PNP-DEG had already accounted for nearly P3.4 billion worth of shabu as a result of eight major anti-narcotics operations.

The last major sting conducted by the PNP-DEG was in Imus, Cavite in 2019 was on December 28, the day its agents seized some five kilograms of shabu worth P34 million from a Taguig couple during a buy-bust operation inside a mall in Imus, Cavite.

Last November 26, PNP-DEG agents confiscated some P2.6 billion worth of shabu from a Chinese national and his two Pinoy cohorts.