It looks like a scene straight out of an action movie, and perhaps one of the few favorable throwback to Martial Law era.

A responding police officer, in civilian clothes and presumably off-duty slugged it out against robbers in the Del Carmen bus whilst traversing the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) northbound, killing two of them.

The off-duty officer was identified as PO2 Ryan Cabansag, while the robbers remain unidentified.

Cabansag just happened to be passenger along with his wife and two children, when the suspects declared the robbery near the Balintawak Tollway, early morning of September 14.

As the robbers proceeded to divest and loot the passengers, Cabansag stood against the outlaws, as one passenger refused to give her bag, providing the diversion he needed, triggering a firefight thereafter.

As expected, the suspects resisted when the police officer took action, and a female passenger was injured in the arm during the shootout. Returning fire against Cabansag fortunately ended up on the windows.

Meanwhile, a third suspect was able to escape during the gunfight.

The injured passenger was eventually released from hospital after receiving treatment, while it was later revealed that the two robbers were felled by clean headshots from Cabansag.

The bus was taken off the expressway by responding Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO).

The passengers gave their profuse thanks for Cabansag’s bravery, while he replied that it was out of duty and his family’s welfare that drove him to courageously confront the evildoers.

The neighboring Caloocan City police commended Cabansag’s quick-thinking and tenacity.

What many may not know is discreet policemen in public vehicles is not a new concept. In fact, it was done before in the Philippines.

Last seen during the Martial Law era, The Philippine National Police, then-known as the Philippine Constabulary regularly fielded secret marshals, policemen disguised as civilians, in public vehicles to respond against robbers and criminal elements in vehicles, similar to the incident above.

It did not flourish for long due to complaints, resulting in Ferdinand Marcos shelving it; regardless, its preventive effects are highly beneficial and made its mark. Back then, the secret marshals were ordered to neutralize immediate threats as they arise, killing robbers and thieves caught in the act.

Several lawmakers have filed bills as early as 2003 to return these discreet police officers in public vehicles as a layer of security against criminals and erring drivers alike.

Buhay Party-List Reps. Mariano Velarde, Jr., Jose Atienza, Jr. and Irwin Tieng authored the proposed House Bill 3150, which tasks the Philippine National Police (PNP) to deploy police marshals in all buses and other public utility vehicles nationwide to neutralize criminal elements, while the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall formulate the necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of the proposed act.

(Photos courtesy of GMA News and Luisito Santos)

UPDATE: Added information later made available.