Cebu policeman is Metrobank awardee

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


IN his 18 years in the police service, SPO1 Reynaldo Solante had his fair share of troubles and bad luck.

He almost died, sanctioned and got estranged with his wife.

But his stroke of misfortunes was rewarded after he was chosen as one of the country's outstanding policemen in service (COPS) this year by Metrobank Foundation.

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The 47-year-old father of two got the shock of his life.

"I never expected to win. The others are more famous than me and I was chosen for this prestigious search," he told Sun.Star Cebu. He will receive P400,000 cash and a trophy in a ceremony on Sept. 5.

Since he was young, Solante knew he wanted to make a difference.

Growing up in the northern town of Tudela in Camotes Island, he was inspired to serve the public by his grandfather, also a police officer.

He studied nautical and changed to criminology, but didn't finish college.

In 1987, he enlisted with the Philippine Army. He was assigned at the First Scout Ranger Regimen, a special operations command unit, that specialized in anti-guerrilla warfare.

Solante, however, left the army life after his unit was disbanded following a coup d'etat in 1989.

When the Special Action Force (SAF) of the Philippine National Police was recruiting members, he had no second thoughts of joining and to serve again.

It was in SAF when he almost lost his life. He met an accident during a parachuting because of bad landing. He suffered fractures in his legs and damaged his kidneys. He was hospitalized for seven months.

To be near with his family, he decided to transfer in Cebu.

He was first assigned in Police Regional Office 7 to lead the Special Weapons and Tactics, but he was asked to be transferred in an intelligence unit.

He was detailed in the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, and he has been in the unit for the past 10 years.

As an intelligence operative, Solante said he has faced many setbacks in his life.

He was sanctioned for eight months in the police headquarters after he shot and killed a suspected drug pusher in San Francisco, Camotes Island in 2004.

The family of the suspect filed a complaint against him and other police officers, citing the operation was not legitimate. The incident, Solante said, taught him many lessons.

His life in PIB also caused a strain in his family. Because of the demands of the job, he couldn't give quality time with his wife and children. This lead to a breakup with his wife, while his two daughters remain in touch with him.

Before he was chosen as one of the COPS, Solante said he faced a highly-esteemed panel, including Senator Grace Poe.

When Poe asked him what he will do if he will be chosen, Solante answered, "Ito na ang pagkakataon na ma-justify sa anak ko bakit wala sa kanila at nandoon ako sa operation para matugunan ang hinaing ng sambayanan at matupad ang sworn duty namin kahit maiwanan ang pamilya (This is the opportunity that I will be able to justify to my children why I was always not around for them and I had to be in the operation to answer the call of the community and to fulfill my sworn duty even if it means leaving my family behind)."

Solante said Poe stood up and shook his hand.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2014.

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