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A policeman and 11 drug suspects died while another cop was wounded in simultaneous anti-drug operations in four barangays in Camarin, Caloocan City, from Thursday night up to Friday dawn.
Police Officer 1 Romeo Mandapat, assigned to Police Community Precinct of 5 in North Caloocan, was killed as he and his fellow operatives carried out the “One-Time Big Time Oplan Galugad” against drug personalities in Camarin, around 2:30 a.m. yesterday, according to police report.
The other wounded policeman was identified as Bayani Auditor.
Inspector Illustre Mendoza, Caloocan Police Investigation Department chief, said Mandapat and Auditor along with their team mates were about to knock at the door of drug suspect Francis Martinez in Barangay 178 when the latter fired shots at the lawmen.
Mandapat was fatally hit while Auditor was saved by his bullet proof vest.
Mendoza said the lawmen fired back, killing Martinez who was also a murder suspect.
As the operation continued, another drug suspect identified as Jersun Maturan was also killed when he shot it out with cops.
Senior Supt. Johnson Almazan, Caloocan Police chief, said nine more alleged drug pushers died when they resisted arrest during the operations in Barangay 20, Barangay 188 Tala, and Barangay 176. Their identities have not yet been established.
Almazan added that their overnight big operation that started Thursday night resulted in the arrest of 51 suspects and the confiscation of five guns, bullets, and 20 sachets of shabu.
Aiveelyn, the wife of the slain policeman, said that even cops like her husband deserve human rights, adding lawmen must be looked up with dignity.
“Hindi lang naman po mga drug offenders o criminals ang may human rights… Tao rin po ang mga pulis. Kung sa tutuusin lang po, dapat natin silang pasalamatan para sa ginagawa nila sa bayan,” she said.
With her husband’s death, Aiveelyn said she does not know how she could raise their two children, aged three and five, because she is jobless.
“It is really painful, but I am sure that my husband was happy because he died serving his countrymen,” Aiveelyn added.
Mandapat’s wife said that human rights group must also see and protect the rights of cops because they are also human beings.
“Dapat ay pangalagaan din po ng mga grupo ng human rights ang kapulisan, at hindi lang po nakatuon sila sa mga criminal na sumisira ng lipunan.” she said.
Meanwhile, Caloocan Mayor Oscar “Oca” Malapitan lauded the cops for doing their jobs, saying that Mandapat should be a role model for them.
Malapitan said that the family of the slain cop will be given financial assistance.
“Nakakalungkot ang nangyari kay PO1 Mandapat. Malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa mga pulis na katulad niya. Magpapaabot ako ng pinansyal na tulong sa kaniyang pamilya,” the mayor said in an interview.
Senior Supt. Almazan said that the bravery that their cop showed will not go to waste, saying that they will continue to intensify their drive against crimes and illegal drugs.
“Ito ang pruweba na hindi gawa-gawa ang operasyon namin. Ilan pa bang pulis ang kailangan mamatay para ma-satisfy sila?,” Almazan said. (JEL SANTOS)