Feb 17-23,2011


* “Ozamiz boys” appear to did it- CIDG
* 2 suspects arrested, at least P5 M carted away by 11 robbers
* “Robberies completed in matter of seconds”- PSI Palomar

Members of the Davao del Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan inquired on their last Monday’s session the Tagum City police about what had happened and on the developments on the daring pawnshop robberies carried out simultaneously Friday evening by a group of robbers who carted away at least P5 million from two pawnshops and robbed customers of Mandarin restaurant inside the Gaisano Grand Mall in Tagum City.

But by Wednesday combined elements of the Tagum City police and the Davao del Norte Criminal and Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) arrested another suspect residing at Cuambogan, Pindasan, Mabini after one suspect was arrested Monday at the same village. The suspects were accordingly identified by witnesses and in the CCTV camera of one of the two robbed pawnshops.

The city police identified the suspects as one Christopher Lledo,32, and Cyford Ceniza,both Mabini residents, and said by a CIDG informant to be only “local lookouts” of robbers, whom provincial police director PSSupt. Jose Pante earlier tagged as belonging to “Manila-based Martilyo Gang”.

New Tagum City PNP chief Ruel Neil Salcedo said in a news report that the nabbed suspects are “noted robbers operating in Tagum City and neighboring areas.”

Meanwhile, the CIDG Compostela Valley operatives have also been on the manhunt for the robbers as earlier report said that the suspects were going to the direction of Mati, Davao Oriental while separate report said that some of them “were hiding in Pantukan.”

In an interview with the Valley & City Chronicle, CIDG Comval provincial officer Police senior inspector Johanna May Lagundi said that they heard a report and they are still verifying this that the robberies were made “Ozamiz boys”.

Another CIDG operative, who has long been in active service pursuing and arresting robbers and other criminals, said that the manner the robberies were carried out in Gaisano Grand Mall bore the signature of the notorious Kuratong Baleleng syndicate in Ozamiz City.

He said that the way he saw the crimes done by the speed, about three minutes and the daring and well-planned moves of the robbers “it could have been only made by seasoned robbery masters who are obviously highly financed.”

“Walay grupo dire nga maka ing-ato. Ang mga nadakpan namo nga mga grupo nanulis lang ug mga tigbaligya ug saging, nangawat ug mga motor,” he added.

“Klaro nga highly financed to sila, kay ang Kuratong sa ilang reported operation sa Manila highly financed gyod usa manulis ug bangko. May pre-crime surveillance activity pa gani na sila usa manulis,” he added.

The CIDG operative theorized that the robbers might have fled to the direction of Davao City, which is busy and has so many people, where they can elude arrest or they might have rented the motorcycles they used and took a back-up car while the robbery “was not flashed in radio alarm to all police stations” right after the incident.

Mayor Rey Uy was angry over the robberies which took place while the closing ceremony of the 3rd International Rondalla Festival was going on at the New City Hall. He wanted that it be solved immediately by the police and the suspects be brought to Tagum City for retribution and justice.

Boardmember Raymond Joey Millan over the weekend invited the city’s new PNP chief Salcedo to shed light on the recent robbery that took place as the rondalla festival was about to end .

The one who appeared and represented the city’s police force was Salcedo’s deputy police senior inspector Jimmy Palomar, who was just reassigned in the city from being the Kapalong PNP chief.

During the session’s question hour portion, PSI Palomar read his report on the robberies which took place Friday at around 7:40 PM victimizing the Diamond Jewelry and Pawnshop, which was robbed of jewelries and cash of some P5 million “based on the police blotter” and Elle Jewelry Creation. A group also robbed some customers of their cash and valuables in Mandarin Tea Garden while the twin pawnshop robberies were happening, a report said.

Based on the CCTV camera of Elle Jewelry Creation reported by the GMA 5 TV, it only took about 2 minutes that the robbers did the heist. In the footage, the glass covering the jewelries was broken while security guards were seen made to lie on the floor by the robbers.

Interviewed right after the question hour, Palomar said that the robberies were carried by 11 robbers broken in 3-man and two 4-man groups.

“It was planned, organized and took place in matter of seconds,” he said. He said that the groups fled towards Mati direction.

Palomar also said that the police is at presstime pursuing suspects “hiding in Pantukan.”

In a GMA TV 5 report Tuesday, police officer Huberto Abadia, head of the special task force created for the Gaisano Grand Mall robberies, the police has already “five suspects not residing in Tagum” although they “have still no witnesses.”
Abadia said that the five suspects have been uncovered to be working together in carrying their previous heists.

On questioning of Boardmember Millan, Palomar bared that the city’s police was tipped on by an intelligence report “two months ago” that a group might pull of heist to a pawnshop in the city.

Asked on what the local police had been doing after it, Palomar said that the police has since been giving information to pawnshops so they would be vigilant on their security. He added that the police is at presstime studying “angles “ on the involvement of a big crime syndicate.

In post-incident probe of the police, Palomar said that the management of the Gaisano Grand Mall had security lapses before the incident as they found out that the mall’s CCTV cameras were not working, while their security guards were not armed, and had not put up body search in the gates and doors, among others.

He said that mall and its tenants are being guarded by three security agencies, which Palomar failed to name. Some boardmembers challenged the police to probe on the security agencies guarding the mall.

Senior Boardmember Shirley Belen Aala challenged the police to find out “if there are men in uniform who are members of the crime syndicate.” She expressed fear that occurrences of crimes would give bad image to the city.

“Please tell Col. Pante to look into the situation of different security agencies not only in the Grand Mall but also in other malls in the city… Tell him, if he doesn’t love Tagum City, he should learn to love Tagum City now,” Aala told Palomar.

PSI Palomar also gave a report on the killing of a cop Sunday at around 4:35 at Sobrecarey Street.

He said that PO3 Edwin de Guzman, a policeman assigned in San Isidro, Davao Oriental was shot for several times by two unidentified assailants riding in tandem of a single motorcycle. They fled to unknown direction. The police investigation and manhunt on the suspects are ongoing, he said.

In separate reports on the Grand Mall robberies, a city police investigation showed that a man pointed a .45 caliber pistol at security guards Ronnel Cambel and Eda Rosil. Deployed by Cherubin Security Agency, the two guards were unarmed.

At gunpoint, they were instructed to go inside Mandarin Tea Garden where the suspect turned his gun at a customer identified as Jasmin Juguilon, who was robbed of her cell phone and P3,000 in cash.

While the robbery at Mandarin Tea Garden was taking place, another was going on at the second floor of the same mall.

An eyewitness identified as Rene Rodriguez, a mall maintenance personnel, said he saw four persons enter Diamond Palace, a jewelry pawnshop, where they staged a hold-up.
They pointed a .45 caliber pistol at the sales personnel and then broke the glasses of the display cabinets using hammers.

The four men carted away all pieces of jewelry in sight with an estimated value of P5 million, according to the Diamond Palace management.

The group then proceeded to nearby Elle Jewelry Creation and forcibly took the .38 caliber revolver of the security guard identified as Gelito.

They also used hammers in breaking the display glasses to take all the pieces of jewelry of undetermined amount.

After staging the heist, the group went downstairs, passed through the Mandarin Tea Garden exit door together with their companions who were then positioned at the restaurant.

Police said the robbers escaped on board three waiting motorcycles without plate numbers. (V&CC with various reports)


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