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Slain cop’s last kiss

The policeman who died during a buy-bust operation Friday night had a premonition of his death, according to his live-in partner.

Six hours before the shootout that cost him his life, SPO2 Randy Marlon Lebrilla came home and asked a kiss from Alma Espire, his 25-year-old partner.

“Bago siya matulog, sinabihan niya ako na, ‘Halika, pa-kiss muna, baka ito na ang huling kiss ko sa’yo,’” Espire recounted.

Espire said Lebrilla left home at about 8 p.m., telling her that he will take part in a buy-bust operation at the Islamic Center in San Miguel, Manila.

Lebrilla, 45, was the head of Station 8 Tactical Motorcycle Riders (TMR) that was part of the team that carried out the operation against suspect Codeng Macabato who also died during the encounter.

Another policeman, PO1 Mark Pineda, 26, was also shot during the operation and was confined at the Chinese General Hospital where he is now in stable condition.

Ronel Lebrilla, the 52-year-old brother of the slain cop, said he hopes that the government will continue to pursue the war against drugs.

“Ang dami nang nasirang buhay dahil sa droga na ‘yan kaya ako nakasuporta talaga ako kay Presidente Duterte na ituloy ang war on drugs,” the elder Lebrilla said.

The remains of Randy temporarily lie at the Manila Police District (MPD) headquarters before being flown to their hometown in Sultan Kudarat.

The brothers, who hail from Mindanao, went to Manila in the early 90s to finish their studies.

Ronel said he originally wanted his younger brother to be a seaman, but Randy’s dream was to become a policeman.

“Sabi niya, kung paaaralin siya ng ibang course, ‘wag na. Hayaan daw namin siya kung ano ang gusto niya,” Ronel said.

Randy entered the service in 1999.

Station 8 commander Superintendent Olivia Sagaysay said that Randy is a big loss, not just to their unit, but also to the entire Philippine National Police (PNP).

“He is a loss,” Sagaysay said. “Very dedicated siya, very promising. Wala akong masabi sa trabaho niya. Kapag binigyan mo siya ng task, less supervision lang. Makakampante ka.”

Sagaysay credited the peace-loving Muslims living in the area for the information on the rampant selling of illegal drugs at the house of Macabato and said that more operations against illegal drugs can be expected in the area.

“Gusto namin i-recognize ang ating Muslim brothers dahil sa kanila galing ang information kaya nabuo ‘yung operations,” she said. “The mere fact na may nakuha na shabu at paraphernalia, ibig sabihin talamak nga.”
(JAIMIE ROSE ABERIA)

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