CEBU CITY -- Three minors and an 18-year-old have been arrested for the robbery and killing of a taxi driver in Mandaue City early morning Wednesday.

The group allegedly robbed the driver because they needed money to buy more drinks for a birthday party.

Police were led to the suspects, all members of the Crips gang, by a taxi driver whom they hailed by mistake. The suspects belatedly realized that the driver was their neighbor in Barangay Casuntingan and they refused to board the vehicle.

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The group hailed another unit, a Catz Taxi driven by Modesto Heligao, 38.

Heligao was later found robbed and shot in the head.

After hearing of the robbery, the taxi driver who knew the suspects approached police to report what happened, leading to the arrest of the suspects.

The Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) arrested Ronnie Ranile, 18; the 17-year-old alleged gunman and his 15-year-old girlfriend and their 17-year-old accomplice.

Police are preparing to file a non-bailable case for robbery with homicide against the suspects.

Police said the four attended the birthday party of a fellow gang member who just turned 17. The gang wanted to buy more drinks and decided to rob a taxi. They left the birthday celebrant behind.

The group waited for a taxi at the corner of M.L Quezon St. near Greenhills subdivision in Barangay Casuntingan around 2 a.m.

The girl then hailed a passing cab and when it stopped, the three men approached the unit to get in only to realize that the driver was their neighbor. They did not get in the unit and decided to wait for another taxi.

It was at that point that Heligao passed the area. The group got inside his taxi with Ranile sitting at the front and the gunman just behind the driver followed by his girlfriend and the 17-year-old accomplice.

They then robbed the driver.

When asked why he killed Heligao, the gunman said he already got the victim's P200 and cellphone but the latter tried to swat the gun away. He said he accidentally pulled the trigger and shot the driver in the head.

The four ran toward Casuntingan and as they crossed a creek, the gunman said he dropped the taxi driver's cellphone.

The group returned to the house of the birthday celebrant and the gunman said he handed him the gun. By daybreak, the group went their separate ways home.

The driver whom they hailed first, however, approached police and told them what he knew.

Police then arrested the suspects one after the other.

Police also detained the birthday celebrant and found the gun and two bullets with him. Police are studying the filing of separate charges against him.

MCPO Director Noel Gillamac said they are thankful for the community's help in identifying and arresting the suspects.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes praised police for arresting the suspects.

"It's unfortunate this happened. Mostly involved are minors, members sa Crips. Grabe kayo and I think we need the help of parents considering they are still minors, they are still under the guidance of their parents," Cortes said in a dyLA interview.

He said parents should take time to guide their children.

"Ang ubang ginikanan busy na kaayo. Nasobrahan sa pagpanginabuhi og pagpangita'g kwarta apan nakalimtan ang obligasyon sa pamilya og sa ilang anak (Some parents are too busy. They spend too much time working and have forgotten their responsibilities to their families)," he said. (OCP/GAC/Sun.Star Cebu)