Most coveted Medal of Valor goes to Scout Ranger slain in Marawi

Carmela Fonbuena
Most coveted Medal of Valor goes to Scout Ranger slain in Marawi

Franz Lopez

(UPDATED) The late Captain Rommel Sandoval, 38, died to save one of his soldiers in the Marawi siege

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The highest-ranking officer killed in the Marawi siege was awarded the posthumous Medal of Valor award.

The late Captain Rommel Sandoval was named the latest recipient of the most coveted and rarest combat award in the military during its anniversary celebration Wednesday afternoon, December 20. 

The Medal of Valor is awarded to soldiers who perform “a deed of personal bravery or self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty so conspicuously as to distinguish him above his comrades.” (FAST FACTS: List of Medal of Valor awardees and their privileges)

Sandoval, 38, was the commander of the 11th Scout Ranger Company that the leadership heavily relied on to clear buildings inside the battle area. 

He died to save one of his soldiers. 

They were tasked with one of the most difficult assaults in Marawi – the retaking of the multiple-floor commercial complex C&D Centerpoint that served as a stronghold for local armed groups linked with international terrorist network Islamic State (ISIS). 

Soldiers referred to the building as “Land Bank” because of the bank that occupied the ground floor of the building. 

When Sandoval saw Corporal Jayson Mante take bullets while they were clearing the building, he asked his men to provide cover fire and rushed to get him.

He was pulling Mante to safety when a bullet hit the side of his torso. Another hit his neck, and a 3rd – the fatal shot – hit his cheek. 

As more bullets came flying, Sandoval crawled on top of Corporal Mante to shield him. (READ: How an Army captain died saving his soldier’s life in Marawi)

Sandoval had made a vow that none of his men will die in Marawi under his watch, a tall order in the battlefield that killed a total of 165 soldiers at the end of the war. (READ: The war in Marawi: 153 days and more)

Mante did survive Marawi. Sandoval fufilled his vow at the cost of his life. 

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