POLICE arrested Thursday four alleged robbers of a Cagayan de Oro-bound bus after a five-minute shootout in Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental, wounding one of the suspects.
The gunfire erupted after one of the suspects, identified as Allan Ripuela, resisted arrest inside latter’s residence in Barangay Sta. Cruz, said Police Chief Inspector Danilo Tumanda, who heads the City Public Safety Management Company (CPSMC).
Suspects were arrested following a hot pursuit operation in connection with the robbery of an RTMI bus in Barangay Puerto Wednesday evening.
The suspects were armed with .45 caliber pistols, .38 caliber revolvers and a hand grenade, all of which were recovered the combined elements of CPSMC, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (Cidu) and Police Station 6 in Barangay Puerto, Cagayan de Oro, the police official said.
Police identified the rest of the suspects as Mario Pilit, Vicente Basobas, 33, and Ricky Laurio, 36. They all reside in the barangay where they were arrested.
At large were only identified as Edwin and Dodo, of Don Carlos Bukidnon and two other “John Does,” who allegedly acted as “backup” of the arrested suspects.
Police Inspector Reynante Reyes, Cidu chief, said the four suspects robbed an RTMI bus with plate number KVT-960 while navigating Barangay Puerto from Kibawe.
“Pag-declared nila og holdup gipangkuha dayon nila ang collection sa conductor amounting to P18,000, according to the passengers,” Reyes told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
Police said the bus conductor, Ronald Romaguera, sustained head injury after he was struck by one of the robbers when he refused to surrender his collection to the suspects.
Based on initial investigation, Reyes said the four suspects may have been responsible for the series of robberies that occurred in Puerto and downtown areas for weeks now.
Aside from their weapons, police said the suspects yielded cash amounting to P7,500, five cell phones, some identification cards, five bags and other personal belongings and documents owned by the passengers.
Police said one of the victims pointed to one of the nabbed suspects, Laurio, as the one who robbed her few days ago.
Laurio admitted that he took part in the bus robbery, but denied the accusation of the victim.
Charges of highway robbery in band and violation of the gun ban have been filed against the suspects, who are now detained at the Maharlika Detention Cell.
The wounded suspect, Ripuela, is being treated at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) for serious injuries as of this writing.