QUICK thinking on PO3 Ramir Maglasang’s part saved the life of his colleague during a buy-bust that went awry.

Maglasang was awarded yesterday with a medal given to those wounded in the line of duty, after he was shot in the shoulder while trying to protect a fellow officer, PO2 Tito Prescillas.

Maglasang and Prescillas formed part of a five-man team from the Tabogon Police Station that conducted a buy-bust in Barangay Moamog at 10 p.m. Friday.

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Maglasang, who was assigned to the northern town only last month, was designated poseur-buyer because drug dealers in the town were not familiar with him yet and would not recognize him as a policeman.

Dressed in shorts and a jacket, Maglasang handed over P20 for a stick of marijuana to Noel Soronio at the basketball court in Barangay Moamog.

After the transaction, Prescillas came out and declared himself a police officer.

Prescillas was unaware that Noel’s uncle, Armand Soronio, was behind him armed with a .38 revolver.

As Armand drew his gun and pointed the barrel at Prescillas’ nape, Maglasang jumped in front of Prescillas and pushed Armand’s hand away.

The gun went off and the bullet shot into Maglasang’s right shoulder.

Armand, who was with two other men, fled, unaware that there were three other police lookouts headed by Tabogon Police Chief Alexander Ancao.

Maglasang said Armand and his companions shot it out with the police. Armand was wounded in the right knee and is currently confined at the Juan Dosado Memorial Hospital.

Maglasang is confined in a private hospital in Cebu City.

He said that in a job like his, such situations are unavoidable.

“Basta drogas na gani, mag-expect na lang nga mga sindikato ang nagpaluyo (Expect a syndicate to be behind illegal drug operations),” Maglasang told reporters.

Maglasang always wanted to be a policeman, and joined the service on July 16, 1996. He has a wife and three children.

Maglasang said he does not want them to worry about him, which was why he asked his niece to take care of him at the hospital.

Police Regional Office 7 Director Lani-o Nerez visited him yesterday and assured him that his hospital expenses will be taken care of.

After Nerez pinned the medal on him, Maglasang struggled to give his superior officer a salute and a “thumbs up.”

Nerez heaped praises on Maglasang, saying he should be a model to other police officers.

“Andam mosakripisyo sa kinabuhi (He was ready to sacrifice himself). (Prescillas) would have died. He (Maglasang) was able to save the life of one of his comrades,” Nerez said.

Nerez added that a police officer’s job requires “stability under pressure” and that quick decision-making is important.

“Maglasang knows what he was doing. He put into practice what he learned during training,” he said.

Acting Cebu Provincial Police Chief Erson Digal, for his part, said Ancao was ordered to locate Armand’s two companions who got away. Police received information they hail from Lapu-Lapu City. (MEA)