MANILA, Philippines – A Caloocan City policeman who was killed in an anti-drugs operation has joined the ranks of individuals honored with the Order of Lapu-Lapu, an award created by President Rodrigo Duterte for those who have shown "extraordinary service" in his campaigns and advocacies.
Duterte visited the wake of Senior Police Officer 1 Junior Hilario in Bagumbong, Northern Caloocan, on Monday, September 19, to speak with his family and to personally show his gratitude for Hilario's contribution to his administration's key campaign.
The Kalasag Medal, one of 3 medals under the Order of Lapu-Lapu, is given to individuals who lost their lives or property due to their participation in an activity in line with a Duterte advocacy.
Duterte pinned the medal on the policeman's 6-year-old son, Jun.
Hilario, who was posthumously promoted to Senior Police Officer 1 from Police Officer 3, was shot in the head while trying to apprehend gun-for-hire suspect Jason dela Cruz.
According to Caloocan police chief Senior Superintendent Jemar Modequillo, Dela Cruz was also involved in drug trafficking and gunrunning.
Police beat reporters say Hilario, 36, was an outstanding cop given the nickname "Bangis (Fierce)" because he always wanted to be in the front during police operations.
He left behind a wife, a 20-year-old stepson, and 6 year-old son.
Caloocan police have been put under the national spotlight after the deaths of 3 teenagers in the city during police operations.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.