ABS-CBN News Digital Media
IT WAS A message she didn’t want to receive.
In the wee hours of September 16, 2016, a chatbox popped up on the screen of Aidilee Mandapat’s phone. It was a message from the head of the Caloocan City Police asking for her phone number.
When the call arrived, she dreaded the words she heard.
“Ma’am, huwag po kayong mabibigla,” she recalled being told. Instinctively, she knew something had gone wrong to her husband, PO1 Romeo Mandapat. “Paano po nangyari?” was all she could ask.
PO1 Mandapat was part of a 50-man team that conducted a police operation in Camarin, Caloocan. Dubbed Oplan Sama-Sama, the operation was an extensive crackdown on drug suspects in the area.
PO1 Mandapat led a team of policemen serving an arrest warrant against a drug suspect.
His batchmate, PO1 Florencio Petang, recalled him and P01 Mandapat and other colleagues entering a dark alley. As they were to open a door, they heard some shots.
“Unang putok, walang tinamaan. Pangalawa yung tumama kay PO1 Mandapat,” he said.
The bullet hit Mandapat on the side that tore through his chest. He was rushed to the Commonwealth Hospital and Medical Center by some of his colleagues but he died upon arrival.
Gunman shot dead
The rest of the police team zeroed in on the gunman. He tried to escape, but was eventually cornered by the police, and gunned down when he resisted arrest.
Mandapat’s death left PO1 Petang shaken. Like Mandapat, Petang has only been a policeman for two years. It was the first time he got involved in a shootout and the first time he lost a batchmate.
“Masakit sa amin, namatayan kami. Ginagawa lang naman namin trabaho namin,” he said.
Mandapat’s immediate superior, Police Senior Inspector Alan Apa, said Mandapat was a diligent and dedicated policeman.