THE TWO injured companions of notorious robbery group leader Johnnie Villarete are now facing two criminal charges following their attempt to rob a policeman and his friend on the corner of C.L. Montelibano-Baloyo Streets in Barangay Villamonte Monday, June 4.

Senior Inspector Armilyn Vargas, public information officer of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), said yesterday, June 5, that Rustan Pecuerdal and Niño Abonales were charged with motornapping and robbery hold-up cases before the City Prosecutor’s Office yesterday.

The two suspects accompanied Villarete when they robbed Police Officer 2 Eric Pableo, a personnel of Maritime Station in Barangay Banago, and his friend.

Armed with a replica of M4 rifle, Villarete threatened the policeman while Pecuerdal was stealing the bag of the police officer’s companion.

The three suspects were on board a blue Mitsubishi Adventure when they blocked the way of the victims who were riding a motorcycle.

However, Pableo shot Villarete, who died on the spot after sustaining gunshot wounds on his stomach.

Both victims were unharmed.

Pecuerdal, who was also injured, was arrested by authorities in a hospital after he hit a parked vehicle during his foiled escape.

Abonales, who also got injured, was arrested in hot pursuit operations at the house of his relatives in Barangay Bata.

Police recovered from the crime scene a baby Armalite rifle, 11 fired cartridges and live ammunition of .9mm caliber pistol, live ammunition of a 12-gauge shotgun, cellular phone, the getaway sports utility vehicle, policeman’s motorcycle, a lighter, and P8 in cash.

Last year, Villarete and his group were involved in a robbery incident in Silay City and series of robbery incidents in Bacolod City.

He was first arrested with his two other companions in August 2017 for illegal possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Villarete, however, was able to post bail for his two arrest warrants for illegal drugs, and four arrest warrants for robbery cases.

With Villarete’s neutralization, BCPO is hoping the reduction of robbery and hold-up and theft incidents in the city. (GYM)