TENSION arose as armed men forcibly entered the Bacolod Bunny Ranch bar at Goldenfield Commercial Complex in Bacolod City Wednesday morning.
Chief Inspector Ruel Culanag, head of Police Station 8, said two Taiwanese nationals, who own the establishment with Joseph Nazareno, arrived around 8 a.m. and reportedly ordered their unidentified companions to destroy the portion of the glass door using a hammer.
The closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) was also destroyed.
Two employees of the bar were sleeping when about 10 men entered.
Personnel of Police Station 8 arrived after receiving a call for assistance.
They sought reinforcement from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) group of the Bacolod City Police Office after learning that there were armed men inside the establishment.
Policemen cordoned the area and positioned themselves for possible engagement with the suspects, but after almost an hour of negotiation, the suspects came out. Nobody was harmed.
After the clearing operation, Culanag said eight persons believed to be construction workers were placed under police custody for coercion.
Culanag said the men were hired by the wife of one of the bar’s co-owners.
The police conducted a search, but they did not recover any firearm. Instead, they found bags containing clothes and other personal belongings of the nine men.
Culanag said Taiwanese Hansuan Chang and Yi Yu Chen alleged that they own the establishment based on the documents they possess, but Nazareno asserted that the documents were fake.
The incident was apparently triggered by a “business conflict” between Nazareno and his two Taiwanese co-owners, he added.
The Taiwanese businessmen are being investigated by the police, Culanag said, adding that the filing of appropriate charges will follow.
Chen had earlier accused Nazareno of physical injury after the latter ordered one of his employees to hit him with a stick, and barred him from entering the bar.
Nazareno also accused his co-owners of being behind the ambush incident victimizing him last month.
For his part, Mayor Evelio Leonardia, who came to check the situation, said the incident was not alarming.
It was an isolated case and there is nothing to worry about, he said.
Leonardia said no hostage-taking took place.
The mayor tasked the police to investigate the incident and even suggested to tap the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation, if necessary.
“We will still make Bacolod as business-friendly as possible,” Leonardia added.