Hero Cop or Not?

Hero Cop or Not?

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno paints a white cross on the pavement where the lifeless body of slain cop was found by SOCO. The mayor also offered a bouquet of flowers and a silent prayer on the spot even as he promised the bereaved family to exact justice for Executive Master Sergeant Roel Candido during his visit. (Photo by Benjie Cuaresma)


 By Tracy Cabrera   

Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, and who is neither tarnished nor afraid.                  

— Novelist Raymond Thornton Chandler

Tracy Cabrera

IN his heyday, my father was a smart-ass cop in Pasay City. But his career as a law enforcement officer wasn’t completely unblemished as his superiors were also involved in some things we can consider now as wrongdoings by any police officer, and as a subordinate, he, too, was somehow linked to these misdeeds.

Still, compared to our cops nowadays, I consider my dad as a super cop because he was not only versed in enforcing the law but was also learned in thorough interrogation of criminals and in the preparation of legal documents needed in the performance of his police duties.

My dad died a captain a few decades ago and he left me a lot of lessons and advice that I still follow to this day. I value what he had taught me; after all, he was a damn good cop during his time—that according to his superiors Colonel Juanito Guysayco of the Intelligence Section of the Pasay City Police and Col. Totoy Colimlim and Capt. Cesar Marco, both of the former Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group (MISG) of the Marcos Era.

But I wouldn’t say that my father was a courageous cop because he always tended to think more than act. Before he puts his life on the line in the performance of his duty, I would say he would first think of an intellectual and logical way to combat the odds so he could survive any situation unscathed.

This, I believe, was what Executive Master Sergeant Roel Candido lacked when he was killed by armed robbers in a daring afternoon heist in Tondo Manila last September 19.

Based on a report by Coconuts Manila, Candido was escorting jewelry store owner Catherine King by tailing after her car while onboard his scooter when he was shot by the robbers. The heist occurred on F. Torres Street corner Soler Street in Manila at around 5:45 in the afternoon. CCTV footage obtained from the crime scene showed that at least four robbers, who were on board a Mitsubishi Mirage, blocked the trader’s vehicle and then shot the victims.

Candido was killed instantly, while King, her employee Vibsia Cañete, and driver Sulficio Pisngot were wounded. The suspects then opened the car and took King and her employees’ belongings. Some of the suspects fled on foot, while the others drove away from the crime scene in their getaway vehicle.

The police are still investigating the crime.

The question now is whether the slain non-commissioned police officer was truly escorting the jewelry owner or just responding to a crime that was unexpectedly committed in his presence?

If it’s the latter, then we can consider him a hero cop who laid down his life to do his job as a policeman. But if not, then he’s a moonlighting cop, which is only permitted by the PNP leadership for appropriate reasons.

We inquired about this matter with PNP deputy chief for administration, Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo Tolentino Eleazar, who gave this corner an assurance that an investigation will be made concerning Candido’s status and his involvement in the jewelry robbery.

But Manila Police District Chief Brigadier General Rolando Fernandez Miranda clarified that Candido was not moonlighting as an escort for some high profile personality, as reported earlier by one media outfit. The truth was that the sergeant was on his way to report for duty in Station 11 when the robbery happened.

Miranda thus reacted: “Well, hindi naman natin siya ma-consider na hero, he was there at the wrong time and wrong place, nagkataon na may robbery hold-up kaya naging collateral damage siya.”

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