FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City (July 19 2012) – Master Sergeant Eleno Leopoldo will be honored by the Arms Corporation of the Philippines (ARMSCOR) on Saturday, July 21 during the annual Gun Show that will be held in Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall, Madaluyong City.
ARMSCOR, the largest maker of quality arms and ammunition in Southeast Asia, will reward Leopoldo with an Armscor 9 mm 1911A1 pistol in recognition for his heroic feat of repulsing armed robbers who staged a daylight heist in his hometown in Surigao del Sur on May 18.
Leopoldo, 50, of the 58th Infantry Battalion, single-handedly engaged a four-man robbery gang, using his old and rusty ARMSCOR Cal .22 rifle.
His deed caught ARMSCOR’s attention when the story went viral in the internet about two months ago.
Mr Demetrio “Bolo” Tuason, Chairman and President of ARMSCOR will personally award the pistol to Leopoldo, in recognition of Leopoldo’s heroism.
Lt Col George Chua, a senior official of ARMSCOR and the commander of the 1st ARMSCOR Battalion (Reserve), said that they have appreciated the the exemplary courage under fire shown by Leopoldo.
"Msgt Leopoldo has proven that Army soldiers are the protectors of the people against any armed threats. His deed is worthy of emulation by all soldiers," he said.
Small town hero
Leopoldo's heroic deed was shown not during an actual combat with insurgents. He was on vacation in his home when four armed men staged a late-afternoon hold-up about 300 meters away from his residence.
Hearing staccatos of gunfire while returning to his home, he immediately inquired what was happening.
His soldier instincts prompted him to get the only defense weapon he had, an old Squibman Cal 22 rifle, which was a single-loading weapon that he used to hunt wild animals in the forest.
Carrying the remaining 6 bullets, he checked outside and saw a group of people frantically crying for help.
As he approached the scene, he learned that a neighbour-businessman was being robbed about 300 meters away.
“The robbers were already attempting to flee and tried to snatch the motorcycle of my neighbour, Tomas Corales. I saw that he was being pistol-whipped, sending him helplessly to the ground. His son, Vincent, tried to fight but he was outnumbered and defenseless against the armed criminals,” narrates Leopoldo.
Seeing that scenario, he readily engaged the robbers who were now about 50 meters away.
He fired his first shot, hitting one of the robbers in the abdomen, sending him to the ground grimacing in pain, while the three others tried to flee.
“I got a little help from my neighbours. They threw stones at them, causing the driver to lose control and crashing his vehicle,,” said Leopoldo.
That’s the time, he said, that he relentlessly engaged the robbers in a firefight, one bullet at a time.
Since his rifle was single-loading, he requested his neighbours, who had already joined him, to throw stones in order to distract the robbers who fired their shots, missing him by inches.
He then engaged another robber, sending a bullet right to his nose--bull's eye!
He continuously engaged the two remaining robbers, hitting one of them but were able to escape.
The police arrived after 10 minutes, and they wrongly identified him as one of the suspects because he was on foot and soaked in mud.
The police were able to confiscate two pistols, and the stolen money was returned to the owner.
Leopoldo's life was never the same since then.