PNP chief laments loss of 7 men

PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa yesterday honored police officers and men who have lost their lives , were wounded or got sick since they started implementing last March 16 the Enhanced Community Quarantine and made sure the streets are safe from criminals.

The top cop said that in just two weeks, they lost seven policemen: four to the killer virus and three killed by gunmen in line of duty. Another six police personnel were also wounded during the 14-day period.

One of those killed was Lieutenant Arman Melad, a member of the Parañaque City Police Station who was shot dead on Father’s Day last week while going after two motorcycle-riding men who were not wearing helmets and face masks. It turned out that the back-rider was armed with a pistol and shot Melad and Corporal Allan Baltazar.

Although wounded, the two policemen managed to fire and killed the suspect, a small-time drug dealer identified as Moamar Sarip. A 2nd suspect identified as Joven Viña alias ‘Mero’ is still being hunted as of press time.

Another cop, Patrolman Emerson Belmonte was killed in a clash with heavily-armed New People’s Army guerrillas in Albay last Wednesday while a 3rd, Staff Master Sergeant Walter Mercado was gunned down on Thursday right after he finished his shift as desk officer.

There were also the cases of four policemen who died after contracting the dreaded COVID-19, two of them in Cebu City.

"I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families of our hero cops and commend all the wounded . They are a loss to the organization and their contribution will be forever valued,” the PNP chief said.

Gen.Gamboa said the PNP has many heroes in uniform, “men who, in spite of the health crisis are actively involved in the intensified operations against illegal drugs and terrorism.” 

He assured the families of the late policemen as well as those wounded of full financial benefits from the PNP and the government.

The PNP Health Service headed by Brig. Gen. Herminio S. Tadeo Jr. said that the 9th PNP COVID-19 fatality is a 45-year old male officer assigned at the Police Regional Office 7 in Central Visayas.

Tadeo said that they have 518 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the PNP since last March or roughly 1.6 percent of the total 31,825 cases recorded nationwide by the Department of Health.

The official said that of the total,  313 PNP patients have since recovered while 160 personnel remain in quarantine facilities. Another 14 are under home quarantine while 22 patients are undergoing treatment in medical facilities.