THOSE reportedly involved in the stealing of concrete manhole covers in Mandaue City’s barangays may soon find themselves in jail if caught.

This was what lawyer John Eddu Ibañez, executive secretary to Mayor Jonas Cortes, gave the warning after receiving reports that more barangays are complaining that some of their concrete manhole covers are being stolen.

Ibañez told reporters that he has coordinated with the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) and the barangays regarding the matter.

He added they already conducted an inventory on the uncovered sewers in order for the city’s engineering office to assist the barangays.

On Tuesday dawn, January 24, 2023, CCTV cameras owned by Barangay Bakilid officials caught a man stealing a steel bar from a concrete manhole cover in a portion of L. Jayme St. Sacris Road.

Roy Lumapas, Bakilid's village chief, said Wednesday they had already reported the incident to the Subangdaku Police Station 2 on Tuesday afternoon.

Major Romeo Caacoy Jr., the chief of the Subangdaku Police Station 2, told SunStar Cebu they had already sent police officers at the area to conduct an investigation.

Lumapas said they had already sent a report to Mayor Cortes regarding what happened and for the City Engineer's Office to work on replacing the stolen steel bar.

In the meantime, barangay personnel had cordoned off the area to prevent passersby from getting into an accident.

In a separate interview Thursday, Barangay Casuntingan chief Amelia Basiga Ale shared that they also lost five concrete manhole covers just this month to an unidentified culprit riding a motorcycle.

Ale said the barangay council are still discussed ways to put a seal to the sewer holes with missing steel bars.

It is the same in Barangay Cabangcalan, where village chief Rey Cortes said they lost four concrete manhole covers in less than a month.

Junk shop owners to be sued

Ibañez also warned junk shop owners who would attempt to accept the stolen manhole covers that they could also face charges for violating Presidential Decree 1612 or the Anti-Fencing Law.

"Nag-tuo mo (junkshop owners) ug di mo maapel? Apel mo," said Ibañez.

(You thought you are not liable? You will be).