Slain Lucena cop hailed as hero
LUCENA CITY—Annaliza Portuguez and her three children, including a 6-month-old baby boy, will have a bleak Christmas after the head of the family, PO1 Raymund Portuguez, was killed in the line of duty.
But Annaliza said that though she lost a husband and her children had been orphaned, she had reasons to be proud because he offered his life in the course of his duty as a policeman.
“He was truly a peace officer. He was always the first in our neighborhood to come to the rescue of anyone in distress or pacify any troublemaker,” Annaliza told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview on Saturday at the wake of her husband at Funeraria Pagbilao here.
A police report said that on the evening of Dec. 18, Portuguez, who was assigned to the Lucena police mobile patrol, was traversing Maharlika Highway in Barangay Isabang, Tayabas City, aboard a patrol car with two colleagues after a court appearance in San Pablo City, when they noticed a commotion inside a tricycle running ahead of their vehicle.
“The woman inside the tricycle looked distressed so the mobile patrol overtook the vehicle and Portuguez flagged down its driver,” said Supt. Allen Rae Co, Lucena police chief.
As Portuguez was approaching the tricycle, one of its occupants immediately opened fire and shot the policeman with a homemade shotgun, fatally hitting the victim in the chest.
The suspect, Omar Gonzalez, immediately escaped after the shooting and the pursuing policemen lost track of him.
Portuguez later died while being treated in a Lucena hospital.
The lawmen arrested the tricycle occupants and found out that the screaming woman was under the influence of illegal drugs.
Gonzalez was eventually arrested in Barangay Putol in Tayabas City on Dec. 20, and the murder weapon was recovered from him.
Supt. Giovanni Caliao, Tayabas police chief, citing initial testimony from the suspect, said the gunman shot Portuguez to prevent the police from discovering his weapon.
Portuguez’s family, especially Atanacia, the slain policeman’s mother, welcomed the news of the suspect’s arrest and said her son’s death “will now have justice.”
Annaliza said that when the shooting incident happened, the family was waiting for her husband at the house of his younger brother, a policeman assigned in Sariaya town, who was celebrating his birthday.
The widow recalled that in their 14 years of marriage, the victim was always assigned as a security escort to police and top government officials.
Co said Portuguez was assigned to the Lucena police station only in September and even asked that he be sent for frontline duty.
“That’s why I assigned him to the mobile patrol. He was very excited to perform a true police duty,” he said.
Senior Supt. Ronaldo Genaro Ylagan lauded Portuguez’s heroism as he could have just ignored the commotion inside the tricycle because the area was no longer within their jurisdiction. “But he decided to stop to pacify the [situation],” Ylagan said.
He said he was shouldering the school tuition of Portuguez, whom he knew as friend way back, so the slain cop could finish his college degree for promotion. Portuguez would have graduated this coming March, Ylagan said.
Ylagan added that he would recommend that Portuguez be awarded a medal of honor for his exemplary work as a policeman.
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