MANILA, Philippines - A Manila traffic policeman was shot dead yesterday while pursuing men on motorcycles whom he had tried to accost for tailing a tourist bus.
Police Officer 2 Jesus Lapuz, 41, of the Manila Police District (MPD)-Traffic Management Enforcement Group, who was assigned to escort tourist buses, was riding his MPD patrol motorcycle when he was reportedly gunned down by one of two men on two separate motorcycles.
Initial police reports said that Lapuz, who was in police uniform, chanced upon the suspects who were apparently tailing a tourist bus in Paco, Manila. Lapuz decided to follow the duo.
Sensing that the police officer noticed them, the suspects sped towards Roxas Blvd. and Lapuz gave chase.
Police said the suspects slowed down in front of the Japanese embassy as if waiting for the policeman, and eventually shot him as he was closing in.
Lapuz was able to draw his 9mm pistol but one of the suspects shot him first several times in the body.
A second version of the incident coming from a veteran Manila policeman who requested anonymity said Lapuz was manning the traffic along Paco when a man riding a motorcycle beat the stoplight and ignored traffic enforcers, prompting him to chase the suspect.
He said the man sped towards Roxas Blvd. with Lapuz closing in from behind.
He said the police officer, who was driving a big bike, finally closed in on the suspect in front of the Japanese embassy, but he never realized that he was also being followed by a companion of the suspect who was riding another motorcycle.
When the policeman stopped, one of the suspects shot him.
Police said the suspects used a 9mm pistol.
Lapuz, formerly assigned as security escort of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, was hit in different parts of the body and died on the way to hospital.
Pasay City police deputy chief Superintendent Samuel Turla said Pasay police investigators are now coordinating with the Manila police.
Police Officer 3 Raffy Habil, Lapuz’s buddy, said they were doing routine patrol when his friend suddenly disappeared to chase a man riding a motocrcyle.
He said he never knew what happened next until he was told of the incident.
Jesus Andrade, a witness, said he saw Lapuz trying to chase the motorcycle before he was gunned down. - With Perseus Echeminada