Surigao cop to be awarded for courage under fire

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/14 March) – A policeman from a town in Surigao del Sur who shot two murder suspects last week has caught the attention of the Caraga Police Regional Office (PRO-13), which is now working for him to be awarded for his courage under fire.

Supt. Martin Mercado Gamba, information officer of PRO-13, said that PO1 Ruel B. Ortega shot last March 8 two murder suspects in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur as they were fleeing on a motorcycle. The driver was reportedly hit in the head and died instantly, while the other suspect fought it out with law enforcers. It was reportedly Ortega’s shot that also killed the other suspect.

According to the report filed by the Cantilan Police Office, Ortega, of the 2nd Company Regional Public Safety Company, responded to a shooting incident at the National Highway in Barangay Pagantayan, Cantilan around 1:20 p.m. last March 8. Killed in that incident was a certain Jovi Ganora, of Purok-4, Brgy Magosilum in Cantilan.

Ortega was reportedly near the shooting scene, and so he immediately ran after the fleeing suspects.

Gamba said a committee is now working on the award to be given Ortega for his gallantry and courage even under fire. “PO1 Ortega will be recommended to receive the Philippine National Police Heroism Medal (Medalya ng Kadakilaan), the highest medal a police regional director can give,” he said.

Police later identified the suspects, who were both killed by Ortega, as Taming Nuñez (the driver), a resident of the neighboring town of Carrascal, and Camelo D. Estal, who is said to be a barangay kagawad of San Jose in Tandag City.

The two out-of-towners’ involvement in the shooting has puzzled the Cantilan police.

Meanwhile, Chief Supt. Reynaldo Serrano Rafal, head of the Caraga Police Regional Office, has ordered an investigation into Ganora’s killing, if this has something to do with similar cases in Cantilan in the past few months.

Last Jan. 26, Dedel Lumapas was shot at close range outside the gate of Surigao del Sur Polytechnic State College in Cantilan. On Feb. 7, a certain Palong Carrasco from Carrascal, known to be a friend of Ganora, was shot dead near the Cantilan National High School.

Police quoted witnesses as saying that both killings, like Ganora’s case, were carried out by suspects riding in tandem.

Authorities are also looking at the angle of a vigilante attack since both Carrasco and Ganora were allegedly noted drug pushers in the area. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)