By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) Tuesday mourned the loss of a police officer who was allegedly shot dead by a drug suspect in an operation in Nueva Ecija, a reminder of the dangers lawmen have to face while in the line of duty.
PNP chief, Director General Albayalde identified the slain cop as PO1 Mariano Caparas, an anti-illegal drug officer from the General Tinio Municipal Police Station (MPS).
“The [PNP] mourns the loss of another police officer who was killed in line of duty during an anti-illegal drugs operation in Nueva Ecija on Monday night,” Albayalde said in a statement sent to reporters.
An initial report from the Central Luzon Police Regional Office (PRO-3) showed that Caparas was included in a team of anti-narcotics operatives who conducted a buy-bust operation against a certain Albert “Abet” Gutierrez at Barangay Pias, General Tinio, Nueva Ecija around 9:45 p.m.
When the arresting team was about to apprehend Gutierrez, the apparently armed suspect engaged the lawmen in a firefight, the report said.
In the middle of the firefight, Caparas was hit in the chest, the report added.
When Caparas dropped on the ground, the team pushed forward to corner Gutierrez but he refused to surrender, the report said.
After the exchange of fire, Gutierrez ended up dead, too.
Police then rushed Caparas to Medicare Community Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Albayalde ordered Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, PRO-3 regional director, to coordinate with the surviving kin of Caparas as he assured that all PNP benefits entitled to his legal dependents will be given to them.
He also emphasized that Caparas’ death would only fuel their desire to intensify the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and other forms of criminality.
“The death of PO1 Caparas does not diminish our keen resolve to accomplish the mission against illegal drugs and crime, rather, his heroism inspires us continue the fight with deeper commitment and dedication,” Albayalde said.
Based on PNP records, a total of 87 cops have already been killed in the all-out war against illegal drugs as of February 2018.