Hurt suspect avoids arrest

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CEBU CITY -- A fourth suspect in Monday’s robbery spent a few hours in Compostela town, then fled again, the police learned from his hosts.

Meanwhile, the police saw lapses in a mall and a bank’s security procedures, which led to the bloody shootout that claimed five lives, including three suspects.

The third suspect killed during the shootout with the police was identified as Melencio Quiapo.


Robbery suspect Junjun Cabando, also known as Dionesio Cabatingan, allegedly fled to some relatives in Compostela town, but was picked up Monday night by an unidentified party.

Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Ramon Melvin Buenafe said the Quiapo-Cabando group robbed a bank in Cagayan de Oro and a remittance center in Leyte this year, where they ran away with almost P250,000. The group used the same modus operandi.

All suspects hail from Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental, according to their identification cards and papers. Buenafe said they were a breakaway group from the now defunct Kuratong Baleleng.

Gun’s entry

Supt. Rex Derilo on Tuesday ordered an investigation to find out who among the security agencies providing service to Robinson's Place mall and its concessionaires were at fault.

“The troops are still out but, clearly there were lapses. The only thing to determine is whose fault it was,” Derilo told Sun.Star Cebu in Cebuano. Derilo heads the regional office of the PNP Security Agencies and Guards Supervisory Section (SAGSS).

The Puritan Security Agency provides the armed van service to ChinaBank that, in turn, is a tenant of Robinson’s Mall. The guard force on the mall is provided by Lanting Security Agency.

“How can robbers enter the mall with guns when we policemen even have to leave our guns at the security desk?” Derilo asked.

“We will make some improvements on the security measures guards are trained for,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.


As of Tuesday, nobody has claimed the suspects’ remains.

However, Buenafe said the police were already in touch with the relatives in Ozamiz City.

Two women who assisted the suspect shortly after the heist were taken into custody.

City Intelligence Branch (CIB) Chief Romeo Santander said they will evaluate if they will file charges against the nursing graduate (real name withheld) who attended to the wounded robber.

She may face criminal liability for harboring Cabando, who got shot in his buttocks.

Cabando went to his rented house in Sitio Wireless, Barangay Subangdaku, Mandaue City right after the shootout in Robinsons last Monday morning.

Residents saw him limping and in a hurry when he, along with his live-in partner, headed over to Compostela.

Cabando sought temporary shelter with his foster family in the northern town for a few hours, where he reportedly told them he was pricked by a nail.

Cabando was adopted by a family in Compostela when he was six years old. He was also known as Dionesio “Diok-Diok” Cabatingan.

No hideout

During his junior year in high school, he was kicked out of the house for allegedly being a “rogue”. He lived in Ozamiz City and occasionally visits his family in Cebu.

Santander said they are now coordinating with Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) to hunt the suspect.

He also urged Cabando to surrender to authorities because he will still be given “human consideration.”

Meanwhile, residents in Sitio Wireless got irked at reports tagging their place as a “hideout.” Some of them hardly knew the suspect since he only visited occasionally.

They saw him last Saturday when the suspect, together with more than four people, had a drinking session outside his residence.

During a phone interview over TV Patrol Central Visayas, Ozamiz City Mayor Nova Echavez revealed that Cabando had a standing warrant of arrest for robbery.

She said Cabando was also involved in another robbery group over a bank heist last May.

Because it was reported Cabando’s group could be a breakaway from Kuratong Baleleng, Echavez clarified that Kuratong Baleleng was created in the 1990s to fight the insurgency.

“It was never an organized group intended for illegal activities,” she said.

Senior Supt. Louie Oppus said the police should act right away after receiving reports that a robbery group is roaming in the city.

“Di na angay maghuwat nga naay mahitabo,” he said in a phone interview.


Oppus, Police Regional Office (PRO) Central Visayas deputy director for operations, said they conducted a conference with the heads of the police intelligence and operations units Tuesday, following the foiled robbery.

The police officials who were present came from Cebu Provincial Police Office, Siquijor Provincial Police Office, Bohol Provincial Police Office, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), Mandaue City Police Office, and Lapu-Lapu City Police Office LLCPO.

Chief Supt. Samuel Yordan, deputy regional director for administration, led the seminar.

In an earlier report, CCPO Director Melvin Ramon Buenafe said they monitored the robbery group roaming in Cebu City two weeks ago.

Oppus said they emphasized that all police units should unite and there should “information-sharing” when a big robbery alarm explodes.

CPPO Director Patrocinio Comendador, in a separate phone interview, said before the robbery, he was withdrawing money from an ATM machine on F. Ramos St.

ID cards

Moments later, as Comendador was heading toward the City of Naga, he received a report about the incident. He ordered the police units in Metro Cebu to set up checkpoints.

“Pero wa to maklaro kon nadakpan na ba gyod ang mga tulisan,” he said.
Despite the vague information they received, Comendador said the police continued their checkpoints until late in the afternoon.

As for MCPO Director Noel Gillamac, CCPO coordinated well with them after alleged robber Junjun Cabando went to Subangdaku, Mandaue City. He said the suspect was just a transient in the barangay.

Gillamac, in a phone interview, said he is for the planned ordinance that requires every barangay resident to have an identification card.

“I think the rights of a person won’t be violated,” he said in Cebuano.

“Giving up a part of your privacy is a small price to pay if you want a peaceful community.”

Residents who notice suspicious-looking persons should inform the police right away, Gillamac said.

Oppus assured the public that the police “won’t relax” in guarding the region against criminals.


“For sure these (robbers) are professionals,” he said. “They are challenging the police because they carried out the crime near the Fuente Police Station.”

Engr. Fred Ygnacio, property manager of First Abacus Financial Center Condominium Corp., said clients often need to provide additional training for their guards by contacting outside security professionals.

Ygnacio, who is Derilo’s colleague at the Philippine Society for Industrial Security (PSIS), said the bankers association of Cebu earlier proposed more training for guards securing armored vans and a weeklong program of instruction was developed.

However, he added, the program was not fully carried out because the bankers wanted the security agencies to shoulder the cost.

Derilo, for his part, said the SAGSS has a separate training program, which calls for a different kind of license and training regimen for guards assigned to armored vans.

“This has not been implemented. In fact, this is still in the proposal stage,” he admitted.

“In the case with Robinsons, there were only two guards and only one went down to protect the teller with the money. The other one stayed near the van. What was that for?” Ygnacio posed.

If the van contained more money to be delivered to other branches, then having a guard take a defensive position outside it makes sense. However, according to Ygnacio, it highlights another problem-that the whole detail was insufficient.

The PSIS is hosting a convention on industrial security and it opens with a security expo at the Waterfront Hotel in Lahug on Wednesday. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 07, 2011.

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