Cardo Dalisay of ABS-CBN hit series "Ang Probinsyano" would have been proud.
The call of duty went beyond work hours for PO2 Joselito Lantano, who ended a bus robbery by shooting the armed suspect before he could fire at him.
Lantano and around 20 others were riding a Diamond Star bus traversing EDSA en route to Malanday early Tuesday when a fellow passenger declared a robbery.
Passengers interviewed by ABS-CBN News said they heard a gunshot from the back of the bus just before the vehicle reached EDSA Kamuning.
The man who fired the gun declared a hold-up and shouted for the bus driver to keep the bus moving as he walked to the front.
Sitting in front was Lantano, the off-duty cop, who woke up after hearing the gunshot and readied his own firearm.
"I knew the sound of a gunshot and I sensed a hold-up was happening," he said.
Lantano said he decided to shoot first before letting the assailant know he was a police officer.
"I looked to the back and saw him readying to fire at me, so I shot back, almost at the same time," he said in Filipino.
Three shots later and the gunman was dead.
Still, Lantano had to check if the bus robber had accomplices on board.
"Walang tatayo sa likod kundi puputukan ko kayo!" he shouted.
"I asked the passengers to raise their hands and place them on top of the headrests. It was the only way to identify the robber's companions," he said.
He told a student who was also on the bus to take video of the aftermath.
The bus was soon stopped by a police mobile parked under the flyover near the intersection of EDSA and Quezon Avenue.
Each bus passenger was let off one by one and frisked by authorities.
Some of the bus passengers ratted out two men who turned out to have been carrying a bladed weapon and a caliber .38 gun. The two, who were identified as James Medrano and Mark Lee Mahinay, denied they were involved in the hold-up.
PROMOTION IN ORDER?
Lantano's presence of mind and swift action impressed Quezon City Police District director Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, who also arrived at the crime scene.
He said he is planning to file a recommendation for Lantano's promotion.
"This shows how alert our police are and should be. Even if he was off-duty and going home, he was ready to face danger," Eleazar said.
Lantano, a policeman for 20 years, has worked under the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) based in Crame since 2009.
Before that, he trained and was assigned with the PNP Special Action Force.
Lantano was recognized by the PSPG in 2013 for arresting suspects of an "akyat bahay" robbery group he caught in the act and chased in Batasan Hills, Quezon City.
For Lantano, his only thoughts were on making sure he survived the encounter for the sake of his 2 children living with him in Bulacan. Both are still in high school.
"I'm just glad that I did my job," he said.
Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News
- PNP behind most killings in Duterte's drug war, police insiders claim
- 3 die in California killing spree; shooter shouts ‘Allahu Akbar’
- De Lima seeks punishment for child exploitation
- Facebook video killing: shooting footage sparks US hunt for suspect
- Jerusalem stabbing: Hannah Bladon named as victim