Judge asked to reduce P1M bail of mall robbery suspect’s ‘cohort’

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Saturday, January 11, 2014


ROLIEN CASTRO, the alleged cohort of mall robbery suspect Junjun Cabando, is still inside the Cebu City Jail three months after a court issued an order allowing him to post bail.

His lawyer Rameses Villagonzalo said Castro couldn’t afford the P1-million bail set by Regional Trial Court (RTC) 19 Judge Wilfredo Navarro last Sept. 20.

“Wala pa siya kapiyansa (He has yet to post bail),” said Villagonzalo in a text message.

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Villagonzalo said he filed a motion, asking Navarro to reduce the amount to P300,000.

He said his client is willing to post the P1 million if it is coursed through a surety bond.

No money

Villagonzalo said Castro’s mother, who resides in the US, pledged to come up with the bail, but she could no longer be contacted.

“Other relatives of (Castro) have exerted serious efforts to raise the P1,000,000 cash, but failed,” Villagonzalo said in the motion.

Castro was tagged as the collaborator of Cabando, who was accused of leading a group that grabbed a bag containing P1.2 million from a bank teller at Robinsons Place on Sept. 5, 2011.

Both are facing charges for robbery with homicide before RTC Branch 19. 

In July 2012, police arrested Castro in his home in Minglanilla, based on the testimony of Merly Laguitao, Cabando’s live-in partner, who was arrested in Misamis Occidental for allegedly helping Cabando escape. 

Witnesses pointed to Castro as the man who helped Cabando escape after the latter was shot. 

Continued denial

Castro also allegedly served as a lookout during the robbery and allegedly participated in shooting the policemen. 

Castro denied the allegations, saying Cabando, who was arrested in Zamboanga del Norte, harbored a grudge against him. 

During the robbery, two security guards of Puritan Agency, who were escorting the bank teller in an armored car, were killed.

The money was recovered after a shootout with the police. Three of Cabando’s men were killed.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 11, 2014.

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