Straight News, Smart Views|Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The story behind the crying cop 

by Rem Zamora, The story behind the crying cop.
Posted at 07/23/2013 3:54 PM | Updated as of 07/23/2013 4:25 PM

MANILA – It all started peacefully. This is the story behind the crying cop.

People were starting to converge along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City early Monday morning, a few hours before the State of the Nation Address.

Street vendors were selling kwek-kwek (quail eggs), bottled water and other drinks while kids were roaming around the car-free Commonwealth Avenue looking for coins dropped by passing vehicles the previous days.

What set the scene apart from an ordinary day along the busy highway: container trucks and barbed wires were in place, signs of of things to come.

On the other side of the fenced area, policemen were lying on the road resting. Some of them had been posted there since two days ago.


At around 11:00 a.m., a big group of activists arrived near Ever Gotesco Mall. The protests began.

Activists hurriedly removed the metal fence on the island, allowing them to bypass the police barricade. Anti-riot policemen from the other side of the road ran and tried to block them, but the protesters pushed through.

There was one policeman who flashed a peace sign to the protesters, asking them to remain calm. He urged activists to hold a dialogue instead of resorting to violence.

And then chaos began.

On one side, policemen blocked and pushed protesters away. On the other, the activists told the first line of security that they wanted to go near Batasan Complex.

Rocks were thrown and people were hit with truncheons and shields. Most of the members of the media stayed on top of a dump truck to give them a good vantage view, while some remained in the middle, sandwiched by the clashing protesters and policemen.

Crying cop

It was a long and tiring dispersal. According to reports, at least 50 were injured in the clashes.

But amid the chaos, my lens caught a scene I thought I would never see during a dispersal.

A foreign protester was berating a policeman asking him why they were hurting the people. “Why are you doing this to us? Why are you hurting us?!”

PO1 Sevilla talks to a foreign participant in the protest. Photo by Rem Zamora for

The officer simply stood his ground. “I am a policeman, I’m just doing my job.”

He said his job was to maintain peace and order. He said they were given orders and they had to follow.

Suddenly, the police officer cried.

The foreigner kept on shouting at this officer. But the policeman couldn’t stop crying. He was trying to hold his tears, but he couldn’t.

Another round of clashes erupted. The policemen were still trying to push and shove the protesters away. The crying cop simply stood his ground. He was still holding his shield firmly. Still weeping, sobbing.

Later, I approached the policeman and asked him his name. He said he is Joselito. A quick glance at his name tag revealed he is policeman Joselito Sevilla.

He said he is a private, and his uniform patch showed he is from the Marikina police unit.

Asked why he cried, he only said: “Sa gutom at pagod. Walang tulog. Walang pahinga. Dalawang araw na kami naka-deploy dito. Tapos ganito, nagkakagulo.”

It was also PO1 Sevilla’s first dispersal assignment.


I finally understood him. No sleep. No food. No rest. And he came face-to-face with protesters whose goal was to break the police line.

Sevilla was physically and emotionally exhausted.

But he was following orders. He was just doing his job not to let protesters get near the Batasan Complex.

He did not hurt the protesters, even if some were already throwing rocks and hitting cops with wooden sticks.

Finally, some protesters noticed him, too: a policeman, whom they expected to retaliate, was in front of them, holding his shield firmly, weeping.

And then they started to console PO1 Sevilla. A man held his shoulder, telling him that everything would be alright. Another woman comforted him, as she tried to give him a handkerchief to wipe his tears.

Protesters pacify PO1 Sevilla. Photo by Rem Zamora for

Amid the chaos, these two protesters hugged PO1 Sevilla and assured him everything would be fine.

Seconds later, other policemen noticed what was happening and they moved PO1 Sevilla away from the front lines, away from the activists.

I was caught in the middle and I couldn’t find him anymore. He was gone.

Show of strength

State forces, especially policemen, are expected to be firm and not show emotions. What PO1 Sevilla did was not what was expected of him.

Did the other anti-riot policemen remove him from the front line?

This incident only shows we are all human beings. It is not bad to show weakness by crying; that we can still do our job, stand our ground, but still be peaceful and not hurt another human being; that two opposing groups can still show compassion as shown by the man and woman who hugged PO1 Sevilla.

Hours after the violent protests, I reviewed my set of photos taken during the day. I smiled when I saw the photo of the policeman flashing the peace sign before the dispersal. It was PO1 Joselito Sevilla. Re printed from

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6 Responses to The story behind the crying cop

  1. Ivan dajay

    salud0. Aq xau. Mamang p0lice hndi kahinaan. Ang pinakita mu kundi katapangan at kagitingan ng pagiging ta0! ! Na kahit xa gitna ng kaguluhan nanatili ka xa mga ut0s xau bilang alagad ng batas. Xa pg ntndi xa mga pr0stante! ! Pinairal mu pdin ang pagiging makata0 m0! ! Mabuhay ka. ! ! Xna marami png pulis k2lad. Mu! !

  2. Nonoy

    I wonder what is the nationality of that white guy. If he is not Pinoy he has no business interfering in our affairs.

  3. Yun Yu

    I think the Police is just frustrated when those protesters are mocking or irritating him which he can not do anything. In other countries, like the U.S. if you’re not disperse, they will baton, taser, spray with pepper spray, and shoot you with rubber or bean bag bullets. And the U.S. are no. one in democracry. What the protester did was wrong. I think the PNP should use a little lethal action such as tear gas and shoot them with rubber bullets when they (protesters) go a little too far.

    As for the foreigner, he can not do that to his own country shouting at the police, he might get taser or whoop his ass with a baton or bean bag. I think he’s just enjoying that here in the Philippines which he could not do it in his own country.

    I salute the Police for showing emotion I think the PNP should think about using less lethal but minimum tolerance with that kind of action as what the protesters did.

  4. zach

    so proud of the policeman. he only shows that we filipinos can stil bind as one even in most violent times..
    it shows respect and rsponsibility…peace and love

  5. jerobs basilio

    they are just standing on different positions and fighting for different causes. but they have one thing in common… parehong dumadanas ng gutom…. ibig sabihin marami ang gutom, pati mga pulis… tpos nasa peligro pang mawalan o mabawaan ng pensyon ayon sa ulat ni balot este pnoy,,,

    • admin

      Totally agree


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