Burglars ransack Bacolor town hall

BACOLOR -- Burglars ransacked the municipal town hall here over the weekend and carted away some P500,000 cash and an undetermined amount of valuables during a robbery break-in.

Mayor Jose Maria Hizon has ordered an in-depth investigation on the incident.

“We will wait for the results of the investigation. The police are taking necessary actions,” said Hizon.

The incident was discovered by Jonathan Visda, 44, town hall janitor, when he reported for work on Monday. He noticed the barrel bolt of the door leading to the mayor’s office was on the floor and the door was forcibly opened.

The cable cord was detached from the security camera, he added.

“Things were in disarray at the Mayor’s Office. The drawers beside the mayor’s table were also opened by the suspects apparently looking for valuables,” said Visda, who immediately relayed the information to the police.

Stone’s throw away from police station

The police station is situated within the municipal hall building and approximately 10 meters away from the offices of the mayor and municipal treasurer.

The suspects gained access to the building by destroying the door lock. They proceeded to the Mayor’s Office and later at the Treasurer’s Office, where they stripped the door lock before they chiseled the safety vault, investigators said.

Three policemen were on duty at the time the robbery break-in took place.

“But it seems no one heard of the unusual noise created upstairs specifically at the Treasurer’s Office,” said a police source who declined to be named as he is not allowed to speak to media.

Hizon directed Chief Inspector Romeo Balubal, Bacolor police chief, to talk with the night shift police officers and include them in the investigation.

Meanwhile, Municipal Treasurer Nelly Escoto said the stolen money is intended for sports development, cash advances, payroll and quarry fee collections.

“We’re not sure of the exact amount yet but it will not be more than P500,000,” said Escoto, who declined to give further details about the incident.

Separate probe

Senior Superintendent Rodolfo Recomono Jr., director of Pampanga Provincial Police Office (PPO), said he will ask the investigation branch to conduct an independent probe into the incident to determine the liability of policemen who were on duty at the time of the break-in.

“Definitely, the chief of police will be sanctioned for negligence. Let’s just wait for the investigation to be completed. It’s just a matter of two days,” said Recomono.

He said he will talk first to Balubal to find out about the incident before he sanctions the Bacolor police chief.

Bonded funds

Hizon said the money taken by the suspects are bonded and insured.

The quarry collections have also receipts as proof. (Chris Navarro/Sun.Star Pampanga)

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