THE suspects in the Monday afternoon robbery of a businessman and his partner in Barangay Binaliw, Cebu City, were apprehended during a hot pursuit operation by Talamban police, led by Police Major Janelito Marquez and Police Lieutenant Colonel Conrado Manatad, the Cebu City Police Office's deputy city director for administration.
Jay Ar Miraflor, 31, of Dimatago Village, Lapu-Lapu City, was the first person to be taken into custody.
Miraflor acknowledged being the crime's mastermind.
He named his accomplices as Leopoldo Montelebano Jamolin, 37, from Mactan Airbase, Barangay Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City, and Jerry Arong Apa, 28, a security guard from Sitio San Roque, Barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City.
Apa and Montelebano were taken into custody by the members of Talamban Police Station and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit, which was led by Marquez and Manatad, around 7 a.m. of the following day, December 5, 2023, in Lapu-Lapu City.
Razel Dave Navarrete, 33, and Jaco Diono, 23, both of Barangay San Isidro, General Santos City, were their supposed victims.
They lost P400,000 in cash and jewelry valued at over P300,000 to the accused.
It turned out during the investigation that Palermo and the victims were neighbors in General Santos.
Navarette asserted that he did not think Palermo would rob them and that he already trusted him.
Navarette and Diono were on their way to Binaliw to buy an automobile with Palermo as their driver.
According to Marquez, the victims began to suspect Palermo when the latter kept stopping in Mandaue City as if he was waiting for someone.
And when they got to Binaliw, Palermo got out of the vehicle to locate the location of the car they intended to purchase.
But Apa and Jamolin arrived and held the victims up at gunpoint and divested their cash and jewelry.
"Una nang duda nana ang mga biktima nga naay involvement si Palermo kay didto palang sa Mandaue sige na daw nag hunong-hunong ba kanang murag naay gihulat. Mao to pag-abot sa Binaliw nigawas ning suspect kay nangutana asa ang balay atong tag-iya sa sakyanan nga paliton sa biktima pero kalit lang nga naabot ang riding in tandem nya gitulis na dayon sila," matod ni Marquez.
(The victims had already suspected that Palermo was involved because he kept stopping while they were in Mandaue as if he was waiting for someone. And when they arrived in Binaliw, the suspect came out of the car to find out the address of the owner of the car the victims would buy, but the riding-in-tandem men arrived and held them up).
Palermo admitted to the police that he was the one who gave the order to rob Navarette because he owed P70,000 to someone after losing money at an online casino.
Palermo felt remorse for what he did.
"Sige naman ko aning negosyoha sir nga mopalit og sakyanan nya ibaligya pud nako pero mura kog na blangko ba, na buang man gud ko sa sugal ba sa online casino sir, first time nako ni sir mao nang nagmahay gyud kaayo ko," Palermo said.
(I've been in the car buying and selling business for a long time, but maybe because I was addicted to an online casino, I wasn't in my right mind when the incident happened. Since this is the first time I've done this, I sincerely regret it).
Navarette said that even though he had already forgiven Palermo, he would still file a case against him.
Navarette had previously transacted with Palermo to buy a car twice, with the latter even delivering the vehicle to Gensan.
The police only recovered P179,000 and a pistol out of the money that the accused had stolen.
Apa, for his part, claimed to have already paid off his debt and used his P70,000 share of the loot by drinking with friends in a bar in Lapu-Lapu City and hiring hostesses.
"Giinom namo, sky is the limit gud unya nikuha kog babaye kay daghan gud kaayo kog kwarta. Unya ako gisuroy akung mga amigo ako sad sila gipa inom. Mga 4 ka case among nahurot," Apa said.
(We had drinks, the sky was the limit, and then, because I was rich, I hired a girl. After that, I went out drinking with my pals. We consumed around four cases). (With TPT)