His marksmanship training has paid off indeed.
But it was the courage and calmness in the midst of explosions and gunfire that made Police Officer 1 Roel O. Armecin stood out as he singlehandedly battled a group of communist rebels who attacked a police outpost in T’boli town in South Cotabato on Wednesday.
Not only did he drive away the attacking rebels but Armecin also managed to kill one and wound another in a brief exchange of gunfire at around 11:30 a.m. at the Police Assistance Center in a remote area of T’boli town.
“I saw two of them fall down when I hit them with my service firearm,” narrated Armecin.
Armecin and a police buddy were manning the police outposts when at least 15 armed communist rebels lobbed grenades and immediately rushed towards their posts after the blast.
The rookie cop, however was able to jump to safety, along with his companion who was identified as PO3 German Golingay.
It was then that the two cops saw the rebels allegedly looting the police station, which consisted of their own personal valuables that included cellular phones and cash.
Armecin engaged the rebels, who then set the police outposts on fire, triggering a brief gun battle that endangered both of them as the rebels started to outflank them.
But it was when Armecin hit two of the attacking rebels that reportedly forced the others to back out boarding a getaway truck that they used to attack the police outposts.
“They also threw three more grenades while attempting to escape. But all of them did not go off,’ said Armecin.
Based on initial investigation, the raid on the outpost seemed to be aimed at luring more soldiers or policemen to respond, as some residents said that at least 10 rebels were seen positioning themselves alongside the road apparently preparing for an ambush.
Chief Supt. Charles Calima, director of the Central Mindanao regional police, said there would have been casialties on the part of the government had it not for Armecin actions, who pressured the rebels to withdraw.
During the follow-up operation, Calima said a cadaver of a slain rebel was recovered, with Armecin saying it was one of the two men whom he shot during the firefight.
A 40-year old civilian identified as Aurelio Dao was also wounded when he was caught in crossfire.
“I will be recommending him for meritorious promotion,” said Calima of Armecin.
“He is a source of pride and inspiration for all of us in the Philippine National Police,” he added.
With the successful defense of Armecin, the local police will sustain the monthly marksmanship training for all policemen in the regional police, noting how it would help the cops in dealing with criminal elements and even communist rebels.