Marikina cop’s heroics reap praise
Once was enough, twice was too much—but thwarting highway robbers while off-duty for the third time in his life finally earned some accolades for Senior Police Officer 2 Herbert Salazar Baylon.
Officials of the Eastern Police District are all praises for the Marikina City police officer who shot dead one of the two men who declared a holdup on a passenger bus travelling on Edsa on Monday night.
But what made Baylon, 39, stand out was his peculiar experience of being caught in a road robbery thrice while commuting to or from work.
Before Monday’s incident, he also shot a robber who terrorized his fellow jeepney passengers in Cubao, Quezon City, in 2003. Last year, again he encountered an armed robber on a jeepney and arrested him after a foot chase.
EPD director Chief Supt. Miguel Laurel said “we will submit a recommendation for (Baylon’s) promotion. He risked his life and did what he thought was the right thing to do even if he was off-duty.”
“He chose to go above and beyond the call of duty,” Laurel said in an Inquirer interview.
Reached on the phone, Baylon said he was heading home on a bus to Laguna when the two armed robbers, who boarded the vehicle on Edsa in Guadalupe, Makati City, at around 11 p.m., ordered the passengers to hand over their wallets, mobile phones, and other valuables.
Sensing that he was a policeman, one of the robbers began badmouthing him. “All of a sudden, a woman shrieked and caught the attention of the robber. It gave me time to draw my gun,” he said.
He said he was able to shoot the robber in the back and then used the robber’s body as a shield when his partner started firing at him.
The second robber ordered the driver to pull over, then made his escape. Once he was out of sight, the other passengers also rushed out of the bus.
Police later identified the slain robber as Carlo Barcelon, a 35-year-old resident of Pasay City. The passengers’ valuables, mostly mobile phones, and a .38 caliber pistol were recovered from Barcelon.
Baylon, currently assigned as a radio operator at the Marikina police tactical operations center, wryly described the incident as part of his “good luck”—since he had found himself in similar situations twice in the past.
In Cubao, Quezon City, in 2003, he was also off-duty when he shot and wounded one of the seven robbers who held up a passenger jeepney he was then riding. He was stabbed in the abdomen during the scuffle.
Last year, he was on his way to work, again on a jeepney, when he saw a robber victimize a female passenger. When the robber got off on Anonas Street in Quezon City, Baylon gave chase and eventually cornered the robber.
The two previous acts of heroism, however, earned him neither a promotion nor a commendation.
Asked what he thought of EPD’s plans to finally give him a promotion for Monday’s accomplishment, Baylon simply said: “I’d be happy if it happens.”
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