Filipino cop proves you can be both tough and godly

LEYTE. Police Corporal Denver Jay Busa is seen at the Police Regional Office-Eastern Visayas in Palo, Leyte.
LEYTE. Police Corporal Denver Jay Busa is seen at the Police Regional Office-Eastern Visayas in Palo, Leyte.Photo by Ronald O. Reyes

DENVER Jay Busa reminisces about his childhood, which was spent surrounded by books, flowers, and female friends.

“I grew up with a great love for flowers, especially during Flores de Mayo, because I love to decorate our church with lots of flowers to make it look more beautiful,” says the 27-year-old police corporal from Maydolong town in Eastern Samar province.

His affection for beautiful flowers stemmed from the lessons he received from his catechist teachers at St. Roch the Healer Chapel, in their small village of Maybocog in Maydolong.

Maydolong is a quaint, fourth-class town in Eastern Samar, with over 15,000 people.

“My religion teachers reminded me that when you offer a flower during Flores de Mayo, you offer it to Mama Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. From this, I realized that we should do our best and give everything to the Lord all the time,” he says.

At the age of nine, Busa already started working in the church, assisting the priest during mass and joining the choir.

“Every Sunday, I feel involved in a group with a purpose. And that purpose is to serve God and others,” says Busa.

He fondly remembers the late priest Nemesio Quiloña, who influenced him about the Catholic faith and Christian values during his teenage years as a church helper.

A lover of knowledge, spiritual matters

As the eldest son among four siblings, Busa already sees himself as a “breadwinner” in the family.

His father, Ernesto Jr., is a lowly coconut farmer, while his mother, Ma. Rodita, is a laundrywoman.

“My parents work hard for all of us. This is the reason why I also work hard to finish my studies,” says Busa.

For introducing him to the Angelus prayer, Busa recalls with fondness and gratitude the inspiration he received from his neighbor, the late Maximo Mabansag, the patriarch of the Mabansag Family.

“The Mabansag Family strictly observed the Angelus prayer. As a frequent visitor to their house, I discovered the importance of praying for my own family,” Busa says.

When he was around eight years old until 11 years old, Busa exerted efforts to always go to the house of the Mabansag Family.

“I had to go there because they had a big Grolier Encyclopedia and copies of Reader’s Digest. Since our family could not afford to buy books, I am thankful to the Mabansag Family for allowing me to read and use their books for my school assignments,” he says.

In his high school years in Maydolong, Busa spent more time hanging around with female friends than with males.

“All of my friends were girls. I didn’t have any male friends,” says Busa, as he accepted the fact that he was growing up as a homosexual.

Busa finished top of his class as valedictorian in elementary and first honorable mention in high school.

In 2015, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at Eastern Samar State University-Maydolong Campus and received the “Student Excellence Award.”

“I didn’t have vices when I was in college. This is because I always considered my parents' situation. I have to improve our family condition,” Busa says.

To help augment his allowance, Busa would assist his fellow students with their class reporting, projects, or schoolwork in exchange for any amount they could share with him, whether it was P20 or P50.

“We didn’t have enough money to buy rice. There were times when we couldn’t even cook rice. But I did not become rebellious towards my parents by engaging in vices despite the poverty I experienced when I was young,” Busa says.

At present, his brother works at the local government unit of Maydolong, and another sister is working as a nurse in a private hospital in Tacloban City, while the youngest is still in school.

“We support each other until all of us can finish our studies,” he says.

Persistent love for service

Busa admits he is brimming with idealism and wants to do many things in life for others.

“There is so much in me that I wanted to share with the children, especially those stories that I read in books,” says Busa.

He says his college professors were rooting for him to become an educator or a school principal after he obtained his teaching license.

“I was very competitive in college. However, not everything in life will happen as planned,” he adds.

Busa failed to get a government teaching position, and he attributed this to politics.

"That day, I realized I needed to find work as soon as possible," he says, reflecting on how his morale hit rock bottom.

“I was 19 years old when I graduated college, and 20 when I started to apply for a teaching job. But my experience of not getting a teaching item snuffed out the ember of idealism in me that day,” he adds.

As he went home from a failed attempt to get a teaching job, Busa heard a radio announcer informing the public that the Police Regional Office-Eastern Visayas (PRO8) at Camp Ruperto Kangleon, in Palo town of Leyte province needs 425 new police officer applicants.

The law enforcement job reignited his idealism as he headed to the police camp, located some three hours away from his hometown, to apply for police training.

After successfully completing the one-year police training course and becoming a leader of his class despite his gender orientation, Busa is now assigned as one of the personnel at the PRO8 Regional Public Information Office.

His work assignments include handling and disseminating information to the public through various communication platforms and linkages, including hosting police radio programs.

“My heart is close to the police information office because I got this job through the hiring information they announced on the radio,” Busa told Catholic news site UCA News.

“I can now smile because I have finally done something for myself, my family, my church, and others,” Busa adds.

Despite the success in his life, Busa has remained grounded in his profession and his dealings with others.

“I am not perfect, but I did not stop trying. My father always reminds me: ‘You’re already old enough, you know what is right and wrong,’” he says.

As he finds his new life and responsibility, Busa’s love for righteous service in the police and in his small community back home grows even stronger.

“I love the philosophy of choosing the right thing, and of focusing on improving oneself and what’s essential,” says Busa, as he shares his philosophy in life with his circle of friends in the police force.

He typically starts his day at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. with prayer and devotion.

He also uses his personal social media page to share the words of God by posting Biblical verses to inspire the day.

“It is nice to start a police page with a word of God,” says Busa, as he did the same in his office work as part of its social media team.

Loyalty to the job, God

Amid the criticisms facing the law enforcement agency in the Philippines, particularly on its anti-drug campaign, Busa remains loyal and proud of the men and women in uniform.

“What I appreciate in our organization is that amid the issues it is facing, you will still find men and women with good values,” Busa says.

“I want the public to know that police officers have hearts. This is what I want to show in my work, in my service,” he adds.

Busa says he feels right every time he wears his police uniform in public places.

“The responsibility that goes into wearing my police uniform is fulfilling. This is the reason why I also pledge to myself that whenever and wherever my service is needed, I will always respond to the call,” he says.

“In my prayers, I always tell the Lord: ‘Make me an instrument to serve the community,’” he adds.

When he is not doing police information-related tasks, he also teaches new police applicants in the training school.

He serves as a resource speaker at different training conferences.

During disasters, he leads humanitarian activities for the police regional command.

Asked about his views on the anti-drug war policy, Busa says the government has the recovery and wellness program “because we want these people to find a new life.”

“I will be true to myself. I am not in an organization that is perfect. This is why every day, we work hard to do the right thing. I always remind the police recruits not to follow the footsteps of those who go the other way,” he says.

For seven years in the police force, Busa only fired his gun during marksmanship training.

He, however, says that he will not hesitate to use his gun to protect someone’s life in danger.

But he assures that he follows the principle of “maximum tolerance” in his police work.

“If God is watching, He will not allow evil to be successful. We, in law enforcement, are here to just do that: To protect people from evil.” (Ronald O. Reyes)


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