The Muntinlupa City government will give P100,000 to the family of a police officer who died after going on duty for three days straight during the elections.
During the flag raising ceremony at the Muntinlupa City hall quadrangle on May 23, Mayor Jaime Fresnedi announced that he requested the Muntinlupa City Council and presiding officer Vice Mayor Artemio Simundac to pass a resolution to honor and give financial assistance to the family of the late Sgt. Manuel Escalona, a member of the Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) team at the Muntinlupa police, who died on his way to work on May 10. He was 42.
Escalona was riding a motorcycle and was on his way to assume duty at the Muntinlupa police when he had a heart attack at about 7:45 p.m. along Daang Hari road in Imus, Cavite He was brought to the South Imus Specialist Hospital in Imus City but was declared dead on arrival by attending physician Dr. Jesus Madlangbayan.
Muntinlupa City Council Majority Floor Leader Raul Corro told Manila Bulletin that councilors passed a resolution during the regular session on May 23 “recognizing the work done by Escalona during the 2022 elections as he died ‘in line of duty’ and granting financial assistance to the bereaved family in the amount of P100,000.”
Muntinlupa mayor-elect and outgoing Rep. Ruffy Biazon visited Escalona’s wake. In a Facebook post, he said, “Namatay si Manuel dahil pumutok ang ugat sa kanyang puso. Matapos ang kanyang 3-day duty sa halalan, nakapagpahinga lang siya ng konti at nagpatuloy sa normal na gawain. Nagmamaneho siya ng motorsiklo niya nang atakihin, bumagsak at binawian ng buhay. (Manuel died because the vein in his heart burst. After his three-day duty during the election, he briefly took a break and resumed his normal activities. He was driving a motorcycle when he had an attack, he fell down and died).”
Escalona’s wife, according to Biazon, said Manuel had high blood pressure and diabetes.
“Marahil dahil sa stress dulot ng straight duty na tatlong araw kasabay ng hindi masyadong naasikasong kalusugan ang naging sanhi ng pagbigay ng ugat ng kanyang puso. Bata pa siya, 42 years old lang (Perhaps because of the stress due to his straight duty for three days in addition to his not being able to take care of his health caused his vein in his heart to give out. He was young, only 42 years old),” said Biazon.
Escalona was brought to his home province in Ilocos Sur. According to Biazon, Escalona served for more than 20 years as a police officer in Muntinlupa.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) had earlier said cash assistance was given to Escalona’s family
NCRPO chief Major Gen. Felipe Natividad condoled with the family of Escalona and directed Muntinlupa police’s acting chief Col. Angel Garcillano to visit the family and extend assistance including for the welfare of his orphaned kids.
SPD director Brig Gen. Jimili Macaraeg said a survivor officer has been designated to process the claims of Escalona.
“Team NCRPO mourns the loss of our comrade and affords him a boundless homage for avidly choosing to perform his sworn duty during the election despite not feeling well,” said Natividad.
He said despite the full alert status covering the police during the election, the NCRPO prohibits anyone from working beyond his hours of duty or without any rest.
“Sa kabila ng pagdeklara ng ‘Full Alert’ status ng nakaraang eleksiyon, ang NCRPO ay hindi pinapayagan na magtrabaho ang sinuman sa kanyang tauhan na magtrabaho ng lagpas sa oras o magtrabaho ng walang sapat na pahinga kaya nga meron tayong mga reserve forces. Sinusiguro natin na ang kapakanan ng ating mga tauhan ang una sa lahat,” (Despite the ‘Full Alert’ status last elections, the NCRPO does not allow anyone under him to work beyond the hours of duty or work without enough rest, that is why we have reserve forces. We ensure that the welfare of all our personnel comes first),” said Natividad.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also mourned the death of Escalona.
“We laud SPO3 Escalona and other law enforcers and those in the security sector that took part in maintaining peace during the election period and protecting the sanctity of the ballot during election day. Ensuring peace and safeguarding the ballots are essential in protecting the legitimacy of the election,” said CHR Executive Director Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia.
She added, “SPO3 Escalona’s passing, possibly stress-related due to his three days straight election duty, brings to light the stress and health-related hazards law enforcers face in keeping peace in the community and crime-reduction efforts. We hope that the Philippine National Police leadership would look into this incident to prevent its re-occurrence and to take into account the overall health of its officers through equitable distribution of work assignments.”
In a statement, Garcillano said, “Our office will be assisting in the facilitation of his claims. Support and assistance from our Regional Director Maj. Gen. Felipe R. Natividad, District Director Brig. Gen. Jimili L. Macaraeg, and other officers including yours truly, were extended to the bereaved family and they were likewise assured that our aid will still be available even if the remains of Sgt. Escalona is already transferred to Ilocos Sur.”
“CHR welcomes Muntinlupa police’s acting chief Col. Angel Garcillano pronouncement on the facilitation of claims and financial assistance to be given to the bereaved family and loved ones,” De Guia added.