Hero cop honored
A medal for bravery, a P100,000 cash reward, various accolades and an offer from a private hospital to take care of him — free of charge — until he fully recovers from a gunshot wound that nearly killed him.
PO3 David Naraja Jr. is finding out, albeit the hard way, that it pays to have real courage after shooting it out with one of Cebu’s most wanted criminals.
Naraja, a member of the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) together with other operatives from the Regional Intelligence Division (RID-7) and Talisay City police engaged notorious gun-for-hire Jessie Largo in a gun battle that killed Largo last October 16. The exchange also left Naraja injured on his face.
Officials of the Philippine National Police, local government units and even members of the private sector are beside themselves with pride for the valor shown by Naraja and other policemen involved in the joint operation.
Largo, allegedly a serial killer and a drug user, was identified by witnesses as the killer of John Ronli Calizar, son of Philippine Information Agency-Central Visayas employee Ferliza Contratista, last August 26.
Largo had been at large until police finally caught up with him in his hideaway in Sitio Aromahan, Barangay Dumlog, Talisay City on Monday.
Yesterday, PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa flew in from the capital to pin the “Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting” (PNP Wounded Personnel Medal) on Naraja, who remains confined at the Cebu Doctors’ Hospital for a bullet wound on his left cheek.
Dela Rosa urged Naraja to quickly recover so that he could go back to doing police work.
“We need policemen like him who is very dedicated, nga kaya isugal ang kinabuhi (who will put his life on the line) to protect ,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa said that aside from the medal, Naraja will also receive about P100,000 from the national police headquarters in Camp Crame.
For Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Naraja, a resident of Barangay Luz, Cebu City, deserves the city’s help.
“We will help him as a policeman and as a resident of Cebu City,” said Osmeña.
The mayor said that Naraja can avail of the City Hospitalization Assistance and Medicines Program (Champ) without limit.
“If it’s a policeman and it happened in the line of duty, there will be no limit,” said Osmeña.
But the offer may no longer be necessary as Cebu Doctors’ Group of Hospitals president Dr. Potenciano “Yong” Larrazabal III assured the PNP that they will not charge Naraja for all the medicines, medical procedures and other expenses incurred during his stay at the hospital.
“I am happy nga naa tay mga pulis nga ingon ana (that we have policemen like him) to make Cebu, or not only Cebu but the rest of the Philippines, safer. We owe it to him. That’s why Cebu Doctors’ will give 100 percent discount on all expenses,” Larrazabal said.
Naraja is set to undergo surgery on his left cheek.
Meanwhile, the administration of a private hospital where Naraja was first brought in has to explain why they refused to admit the cop without a P10,000 down payment.
The PNP chief lamented how some hospitals tended to “discriminate” poor people.
“Ang ubang hospital … dili dawaton kung walay down payment despite sa balaod nga gihimo, naa gihapon mo-discriminate sa mga pobre nga taw, (In some hospitals, they don’t admit the patient without a down payment despite the law. There are still hospitals that discriminate against poor people)” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa said that the PNP is mulling the filing of charges against the hospital (name withheld pending the hospital’s official statement) for its “blatant violation” of Republic Act 10932 or the Anti-Hospital Deposit Act.
PRO-7 director Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino has sent a letter of complaint to the management of the hospital yesterday narrating how the hospital refused to admit the injured cop unless a down payment was made.
“How come na they will not admit our policeman unless we pay the P10,000 deposit?” Espino said.
Espino said that although the hospital applied first aid on the cop, medical procedures that were needed like a CT scan and other laboratory tests were not conducted.
“Nakita ko yung policeman natin nakahiga lang hinihintay na magbayad. Nandun lang sa emergency room na may bandage pa siya pero makikita mo yung bleeding ng pulis natin (I saw our cop just lying there in the emergency room waiting for the payment. He had a bandage, but you could really see him bleeding),” Espino said.
For his part, Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing announced that he was now preparing the cash reward for the tipster who led police to find Largo’s whereabouts.
“More than anything, this really shows what risks the police would take every day in the exercise of their duties as they are dealing with dangerous individuals on a daily basis who have zero respect for the law and zero respect for peace and order,” Quisumbing said.
The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) also passed a resolution, Wednesday, commending police operatives for Largo’s killing.
“This legitimate operation is a reflection of the diligence and steadfastness of the Philippine National Police in going after criminal suspects so that they can be brought to justice and in preserving, protecting, and maintaining peace and order,” read the resolution penned by First District PB Members Yolanda Daan and Raul Bacaltos. /with reports from Rosalie Abatayo, Miguel Ermac and Morexette Marie Erram
Subscribe to our regional newsletter
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.