By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY – Friday would have been a romantic day for Police Master Sergeant Maximino Macua Jr. and his wife Eva Kristel as the couple planned to go out for a Valentine’s Day date.
But the day passed without a romantic candlelit dinner. There was no exchange of “I love you” either.
Instead, Eva Kristel was busy attending to the wake of her husband, who was killed in a shootout with suspected members of an illegal drug group in Barangay Mambaling Tuesday night.
“We were at odds in the past few days and he promised to make it up for me by treating me to a Valentine’s Day date,” Eva Kristel said in an interview last Thursday in her husband’s wake at St. Peter Funeral Homes.
The family has not been able spend time often, of late, since Maximino was assigned in Cebu City as a unit investigator of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group-Central Visayas.
Eva Kristel and their three children, a six-year-old boy and two-year-old twins, live in Loon town, Bohol.
“He would usually inform me if he is in an operation. But last Tuesday he did not inform me. Then someone called me. I didn’t pick up the call since I usually don’t answer unregistered numbers. Then I received a text saying that the one calling is the superior of my husband,” said Eva Kristel.
The moment that she learned that the call came from Maximino’s chief, Eva Kristel already sensed something was amiss.
“In my mind, I was already saying ‘please, no,” said Eva Kristel.
Upon learning of her husband’s death, Eva Kristel rushed to Cebu City.
Maximino, 37, was a doting father and an incorruptible police officer, said Eva Kristel.
“He was a man of integrity. He lived with principles. There were attempts of weekly or monthly (payola) but he never fell into temptations,” said Eva Kristel.
Eva Kristel, who is seven years younger than Maximino, said she knew her husband very well since they were college sweethearts before they got married in 2017.
“He was a very dedicated police officer. In fact, he was not supposed to be a part of that operation since he was the unit investigator and he was in schooling for a promotion but he volunteered to join,” said Eva Kristel.
Eva Kristel said it pained her that the assailant beat her husband to the draw because Maximino’s firearm malfunctioned.
“His firearm jammed that’s why he got shot first,” said Eva Kristel, who works in a call center and sidelines as a content writer.
After Maximino was gunned down, the two suspects were killed while three others were arrested in follow-up operations.
But for Eva Kristel, no matter how hard she cries for justice, it will no longer bring back her husband’s life.
“I am leaving it all to God. There had been arrests but my husband is already gone. What I should do now is to stay strong for my children,” she said.
Eva Kristel has found it difficult to explain the situation to their eldest son.
“I told him, his daddy is just asleep but he keeps on asking when will he wake up. I pity my children. They don’t know what’s happening and I don’t know how to explain it to them,” said Eva Kristel.
Aside from seeking counseling to ease the pain, Eva Kristel also plans to transfer to a new house once they return to Bohol.
“I want to build a new house because all our memories as a family are in the old house. The pain is so unimaginable but I have to be strong for the kids. I am proud that they had a father who they can be proud of,” said Eva Kristel.
Maximino’s remains were brought to the Police Regional Office-Central Headquarters Friday where his colleagues, led by PRO 7 chief Police Brig. Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, paid their last respects.
Maximino’s body will be brought to Bohol Saturday and will be buried on February 20.
The Cebu City government and the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) gave Maximino’s family P50,000 and P20,000, respectively.
OPAV Sec. Michael Lloyd Dino said President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed Department of Education and National Housing Authority to provide the needed assistance to Maximino’s family.