Heartbreaking. Heartwrenching. Heartwarming.
Posthumously conferred as the Most Outstanding Clerk in General Surgery, a tear-jerking awarding rite to a dearly departed created a bittersweet yet overwhelming memory among the ILLUSTRE graduates and attendees during the 68th Investiture and Commencement Exercises held at Grand Pacific Ballroom, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino last June 21, 2018.
Mourned with a cry of justice over her tragic death in May 15, 2018, Amy Therese “Heart” Guire Cabataña, was among the fine students, who, in one month’s time could have been part of the processional rite and be conferred as Dr. Amy Therese G. Cabataña.
A consistent top student who could have been a competent doctor like the rest, Heart’s aspiration for a noble profession completely stopped when she was brutally killed inside her rented apartment with multiple stab wounds in the body.
Following her tragic death, the shocking news went viral in social media where family, relatives, friends, batchmates and resident doctors sought for justice bearing the hashtags: #JusticeForAmy and #ILLUSTREMinusOne.
A native of Bohol, Heart, as she is fondly called, was born in February 14, 1990. At a younger age, she lost her mother and was then taken under the care and affection by her aunt, Chona G. Flores who supported her dreams and goals in life especially in becoming a medical doctor.
A registered nurse by profession before she pursued into Medicine, Heart already excelled into scholastic academic performance being an outstanding pupil in kindergarten. Diligent and motivated, she graduated as class valedictorian in elementary level while she obtained with honors during her high school years in the year 2016 at Holy Spirit School, Tagbilaran City. In 2010, she graduated BS in Nursing as Cum Laude at Holy Name University of the same city.
Although she did not proceed into Medicine at once, she was able to enroll and applied for an academic scholarship and eventually became a full scholar recipient under the founders’ scholarship grant for a year or two. Rooted from her hard work and dedication as she used to, she was able to maintain her name on the dean’s list amidst challenges along the way. Until one horrible day, hers became a memory and eventually became a big story that horrified many.
Loved but unseen, Dr. Amy Therese G. Cabataña could have been smiling as her Alma Mater honored her exemplary performance in an overwhelming Posthumous Award with one hundred seventy-one (171) batchmates who highly regarded her with a laudable standing ovation.
Deeply moved by the love, support and kindness that will always be remembered by the family of the slain maven-to-be, Ms. Mariley Guire, Heart’s another loving aunt went home from New York just to be present on her graduation day. Although it was pre-planned a year ago, Ms. Guire could not contain her mixed emotions in an interview during the memorable event.
Losing a niece whom she supported financially all the way through her med school, 61-year old Guire who also went home during the interment period expressed her dismay over the slow justice system in the country knowing that the suspected killer missed to respond to the subpoena issued by the local authorities. As the subpoena had expired, the suspect is now on the loose and they continually seek the public’s help to locate him.
“In behalf of the Guire Family, we expressed our heartfelt gratitude to the entire MHAM community and Batch ILLUSTRE for your overwhelming love and kindness to help us through this very difficult time and the coming days ahead. We’re out of words to descibe our appreciation to MHAM for giving her this honor”, Guire said in an interview.
Anxiously waiting for the arrest of the murderer, Chona Flores and Mariley Guire accepted the Posthumous Award where the batchmates, parents, friends, guests, mentors and professors applauded the honoring moment of a dearly beloved.
While they lifted up to God who serves the eternal justice in the afterlife, the two siblings who became Heart’s second mothers moved into tears as they received the honor given to their beloved niece.
Conferred as the Most Outstanding Clerk in General Surgery, MHAM President and Chairman of the Board, Mrs. Elma Aznar Sierra; College Dean, Dr. Ma. Socorro Manaloto; and School Registrar, Dr. Luditha Lumapat-Pe presented the aforementioned award to the recipient’s aunts who were amazed and overwhelmed by the honor given by the school.
March 2018 Physician Licensure Examination 2nd placer, Dr. Jay R. Orehuela, who graced the graduation ceremonies with his inspirational talk, also conveyed his tribute to the departed clerk who was his former classmate and close friend way back in college.
According to Mrs. Chona Flores, they will sorely missed their dear Heart and wherever they may be, they will always remember her. The 55-year old aunt who stood by Heart in both joys and sorrows, described her as diligent, obedient and respectful niece. She further shared that her niece often indirectly wanted her presence felt in their midst with symbolic messages.
Extremely moved in a tearful moment whose hearts are still pierced with pain, the Guire sisters expressed their gratefulness to MHAM as a family.
Looking back, Heart’s groupmates were the very first to respond to the crime scene followed by MHAM Chief of Clinics, Dr. Axel Elises together with the SOCO team. The rest was followed with an investigation to identify the identity of the suspect.
“My sister and I received the outstanding award in General Surgery with mixed emotions but at the same time we are very sad because Heart is no longer with us. As a second mother to Heart, her untimely death is very difficult to process especially that she could have had a bright future ahead of her. We fervently prayed that her soul may find rest as we seek for justice and healing. Moreover, we are very happy and proud for Heart’s achievement”, said Mrs. Flores.
Right after the graduation rites, they headed to a pre-planned post graduation celebration with Heart’s beloved family, close friends and invitees with MHAM alumnus-topnotcher, Dr. Jay Orehuela at the Vikings Luxury Buffet in SM City Cebu.
In a world where it is important for the living to pay tribute to the departed loveones, the loving memory of Dr. Amy Therese Cabataña will forever remain in the hearts of those who have been part of her life towards a noble dream. While the rest of her family finds healing and comfort along the way, her contribution to the institution that molded her medical journey will always be remembered. Her name and her legacy will shine through, because she has been part of the instruments of grace carrying the blazing torch to serve the human race. Just as honor has been rewarded for what she gave, hers is a lasting memory that can never be replaced. (Ana Liza Abao)