POLICE work, for PO3 Adonis Dumpit, is a 24-hour job. Which is why he can never say no to people who knock on the door to his rented room in Villagonzalo I, asking for help.

Though the public is divided on whether he should be considered a hero or a villain, Dumpit does not care either way.

"It's just a job and I love doing it," he says with a shrug.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has lauded Dumpit, saying the city would have no peace and order problem if there were 30 more cops just like him.

Despite all the hype surrounding him, Dumpit remains soft-spoken, keeping a low profile wherever he goes.

One thing he is firm about, though, is that he will never stop hunting down criminals no matter how many cases or criticisms he has to face.

SunStar: How do you feel when people call you 'trigger-happy'?

Nakabasa bitaw ko sa usa ka newspaper (not Sun.Star) na "salvage cop" kuno ko. Isn't that libelous? For me, I have never abused my power to hold a gun. I just don't have a choice. Kon mu-surrender pa lang na ang mga tulisan og dili musukol, dili man ko mamusil. Unahan man ko nila. (If they surrender, I don't shoot them. But they tend to fire first.)

Is it coincidence that you tend to end up chasing robbers who shoot back?

(Laughs) I don't know. Katong katapusan, ako man sad gyud ang nakasugat niya bisag daghan mi gagukod. (In that last case, of all the policemen chasing him, he had to end up facing me.)

Aren't you afraid the relatives of those you've shot might try to get back at you?

Wala man. Trabaho ra man ni ang ako. It is them (the criminals) who should be afraid because I am in public service.

What about your wife? Is she afraid the relatives will go after you?

Aw, siya hadlok. Wala siya'y mahimo kay nakabana man siya og pulis (laughs). (She gets scared, but what can she do? She married a policeman.) There have been people who suggested that I should not be seen bringing my family along with me, but...I don't know. I still bring my son when I go to the firing range.

If your enemies cannot get to you, are you afraid that one day they will go after your family instead?

Ginoo na lang ang mahibawo ana. (I leave that up to God.)

How long have you been interested in guns?

Since I was a kid. Most of the members of my family were in the military. My mother made me take a nautical course and then I shifted to mechanical engineering. I did not like it. Eventually I finished criminology.

I heard you prefer using a pistol compared to a revolver. Why is that? You use a .45 pistol, right?

A pistol packs more bullets. I use a 15-shooter .45 pistol. It's a high-capacity pistol. This is my personal licensed gun. Nag-loan pako sa AFPSLAI ani wala kahibaw akong asawa. (I took out a loan that my wife did not know about, at first.) My issued firearm is still with the Regional Crime Laboratory. It was also a .45 pistol.

Is this the one you surrendered after the shooting of Frederico Tabon, the jeepney driver? (Dumpit denied shooting the driver but surrendered to clear his name.)

Yes, that's the one. Pero kahibaw sad ko mugamit sa revolver. Mas maayo man kon kahibawo ta mu-operate og laing armas kay dili man ta katag-an sa panahon. Ang revolver, mas thrilling sa competition, labi na inig-reload. (I also know how to use a revolver. It's best to know how to wield different firearms because you never know when you might need them.)

Why do you decide to join police operations even when you are off-duty?

I cannot say no when people come to me for assistance. Dako na nga konsuelo nako nga ari sila musalig nako. (It's an honor for me that they come to me for help.) Like in the case of the victims of Ronron Go. They went to the police station but they were not satisfied. They were told that the police will just follow it up.

They went to another police station to look at the rogues' gallery, but they still did not feel satisfied. Pag-adto nila sa balay, nihangyo, giubanan na lang nako. Kon buot huna-hunaon, ang pulis wala'y off-duty.

Twenty-four hours na siya. Kon dili ta mo-responde ma-dismiss man pod ta. (They came to my house and pleaded for help, so I went with them. When you really think about it, the police never go off-duty. We're on the job 24 hours.)

Before you were reassigned to the Security and Service Group, you used to be with the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat). Is there a difference in your duties

Pareho ra man among function, pulis lang gihapon. Naa la'y special skills ang Swat. Usahay boring lang. Mao nang magsuroy-suroy ko, naa unya'y mangayo ug tabang. Usahay kapoy gani kaayo magpuyo og balay. Gamay gyud kaayo na among gipuy-an, usa ra ka kwarto. Mao nang musuroy nalang pud ko. (Except for the special skills for Swat, the functions are the same. I like to roam around the city, in case anyone calls for help. It's exhausting to stay at home all the time.)

What do the people of Villagonzalo I think of you?

Ambot lang. Pero ako, lainan ko didto labi na sa sudlonon na bahin. Ma-allergic ko didto, manimbawot akong balhibo. Tanang illegal naa didto, maglain akong lawas. Kung naay alarma didto akong lihokon pero kung wala di ko magpaduol didto. (I don't know what they think of me. I'm allergic to all the illegal activities in the neighborhood. They leave me cold. Unless I have an alarm to respond to, I tend to stay away from there.)

When you're not chasing criminals, what do you do on your spare time?

Suruyon na nako akong pamilya. (I go out with my family.)


Originally published on SunStar Cebu on December 20, 2004