Filtered By: Topstories

PMA’s 1st woman topnotcher laid to rest

MANILA, Philippines — One week after she was killed in a road accident in Bataan province, the first woman topnotcher of the Philippine Military Academy was laid to rest in Negros Oriental on Thursday, online news site Visayan Daily Star ( reported Friday. The report said Navy Lieutenant Senior Grade Arlene dela Cruz was laid to rest with full military honors at a private cemetery in Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental, at noon. A 21-gun salute, the playing of taps and salutes by PMA alumni in attendance in her honor highlighted the burial of dela Cruz, who topped PMA Class 1999. "She will be missed, but she will continue to be an inspiration to us as we move ahead in our individual lives and military careers," said "mistahs" or classmates who arrived from Manila, Cebu, Negros Occidental and other places to attend her burial. Two Air Force helicopters made several low passes and dropped flowers and confetti as the funeral rites went on. "Arlene has been a source of pride not just for our class, but for the entire PMA itself, because she is the first woman cadet who graduated Number One and a cum laude at that," said Navy LtSG Edwin Cordova, class president of PMA "Masikhay" Class 1999. Dela Cruz was among the 13 women in PMA Class 1999. Cordova said dela Cruz became the standard of their class in terms of excellence. He said that after news first came out that dela Cruz was graduating at the top of her class, many Filipino women were encouraged to join the PMA and the number has risen since then. "We are all grieving for our loss, but we are happy she is now resting with the Lord," Cordova said. Dela Cruz, 34, was killed in a car crash on Dec. 2 while driving alone in Bataan. Her mother, Catalina Adanza, who is from Zamboanguita, said that her daughter told her recently that she was not considering marriage yet. Mrs. Adanza said the support from PMA graduates and the military helped her overcome the overwhelming pain and hurt over the loss of her daughter. - GMANews.TV