Bacolor cops face charges

BACOLOR -- Members of the Bacolor police led by Chief Inspector Romeo Balubal, Jr. are now facing administrative charges for alleged lapses and negligence after the robbery break-in at the town hall here last weekend where burglars carted away P500,000 cash stashed at the safety vault of the Treasurer's Office located just a floor above the police station.

This was disclosed by Pampanga Provincial Police Office Director Senior Superintendent Rodolfo Recomono Jr., who has put under investigation Balubal and three of his men who were on duty at the time of the robbery.

"I've instructed the investigation branch to start its probe as part of the administrative procedure against Balubal and some of his men," said Recomono.

He said the police investigators will determine the lapses on the part of Balubal being the town chief of police, and negligence for his men on duty when the robbery break-in took place.

"Kailangan malaman natin kung ano ang ginagawa ng mga duty, nagro-roving ba sila at bakit hindi nila napansin na may kakaibang nagaganap," Recomono said.

At least three policemen were on duty at the Bacolor police station, he said, but it seemed no one noticed of the robbery on progress.

"'Yan ang titingnan natin bakit hindi nila napansin na pinasok na pala ang munisipyo," said Recomono.

The robbery was discovered by Jonathan Visda, 44, a janitor for more than 20 years at Bacolor town hall, when he reported for work Monday. He said the break-in might have been carried out during the weekend.

Recomono added that a video footage of one of the suspects captured by security camera is being enhanced to clearly identify them.

Nelly Escoto, head of the Treasurer's Office, told reporters that the cash taken by the suspects include sports development funds, cash advances, payroll and collections from quarry operations.

She declined to give the exact figure that was stolen but an employee who requested not to be named said the safety vault has P500,000 for deposit.

The suspects also barged inside the Mayor's Office but failed to find valuables and cash.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jose Maria Hizon offered a P100,000 cash reward for any information that will lead to the arrest of the suspects.

Hizon believed that the bounty would help expedite the investigation and hopefully solve the robbery break-in case which is being considered by authorities as a handy work of professional group. (Chris Navarro)

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