MANILA, Philippines – Within a second.
Sr. Supt. Florencio Ortilla on Monday boasted that police officers responded to the shooting incident at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City in just a short period of time.
“Ang kagandahan nito dahil sa bilis ng aksyon na ginawa ng ating kapulisan at sa police presence na nakita talaga doon ay within a second lang talaga nang nangyari, nakipagbarilan po ang ating mga kapulisan,” the Pasay City police chief told Inquirer Radio 990AM.
(Because of the quick action of our policemen and the police presence in the area, within a second our police officers were able to engage in a shootout.)
Ortilla pointed out that at least one or two suspects were wounded in the gun fight with alleged members of the notorious “Martilyo Gang” since they were able to retrieve bloodied clothes at the scene of the crime.
“Ito ay inspirasyon sa lahat ng ating kapulisan na kahit ikaw ay bago, babae, [kaya mong] lumaban sa mga criminal,” he said of the four police officers.
(This is an inspiration for the police force…it shows that even if you are a rookie, a woman, you can fight criminals.)
Ortilla, however, declined to give out the names of the policewomen while the investigation is ongoing.
The shootout and ensuing chase happened after unidentified men fired their guns, scaring people and giving the perpetrators enough time to rob two jewelry stores. Reports said the men smashed the display cases of the kiosks, similar to the tactic of the “Martilyo Gang.”
Ortilla said the policewomen were able to arrest one of the suspects, who was carrying a calibre .45 handgun. He is still being interrogated by authorities.
The police will release artist’s sketches of the other suspects later in the day.
Ortilla said they were very satisfied with the cooperation of other stakeholders such as the business establishments, which locked down during the chaos to secure their customers and allow the police to pursue the suspects.
He said they have long been conducting security exercises at MOA. However, the part of the building where the crime happened was near the mall’s open area where there were no security inspections being done.
The robbers were able to steal several pieces of jewelry from the stalls of F&C Jewelry and The Jeweller. They were not able to take all the items because of the quick response of authorities, Ortilla said.