Former titlist trades catwalk for crime patrol

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Monday, November 8, 2010


LONG before PO3 Ruth Violango made a gun and police gear part of her everyday uniform, she used to wear makeup, jewels and gowns.

Fifteen years ago, she won as the first runner-up in the Mutya ng Pilipinas-Cebu beauty pageant. Her win was accidental, she said. She joined the pageant after friends persuaded her.

How she went from a pageant winner to a homicide policewoman, one who worked as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force in Kosovo, is less of an accident.

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After her win, director Junjet Primor asked her to try modeling. She agreed.

But Violango, who stands 5’10” tall, said whenever she was on the catwalk, she was not satisfied with the glamour of being on stage.

She dreamed of becoming a flight attendant. As an intern of an airline company, she was asked by the manager to undergo an interview. But she backed out.

She felt she was destined for something else.

Even though she was still on her psychology course at a university, her father, retired Police Maj. Perfecto Bongo Sr., kept on urging her to take the police
examinations.

She guessed her father wanted someone among his children to follow in his footsteps.
“My father told me it was just for my resume anyway,” she said.

To appease him, Violango took the exams in 1997 with a model-friend and endured the teasing of the men. She passed the exams.

Persuasion

Then one day, a friend of her father’s came along with his wife, a police officer who told Violango that a policewoman can choose to do office work.

The woman further told her a police officer’s future is secure because the salary is good. She believed that was part of her father’s script.

In 1999, when the police recruited members, she submitted the requirements and was hired. She did not tell her friends, who thought she became a flight attendant.

She trained for eight months and had her hair cut short. It was hard, she said. She finished training in 2000 and was assigned at the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO).

She was the only woman of the MCPO’s pioneering Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team. Then her friends learned she became a policewoman after they saw her in a televised news report.

She was reassigned to the Talisay City Police and then to the Homicide Section of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) in 2007.

An investigator, according to her, should not take sides.

“You should set aside your emotion,” she said. “A cop should also have patience.”

Later that year, she became one of the United Nations’ peacekeepers in Kosovo. Her job there was to help investigate war atrocities. One year later, she came back to the country and returned to serve the Homicide Section.

“If you have passion, you’ll enjoy your job,” she said.

In hindsight, said Violango, she realized that as a child, she already had a liking
for the police world. She describes herself as “independent and a risk-taker.”

She recalled she enjoyed listening to the conversations between her father and police friends. Now, she is among the boys.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 08, 2010.

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