FOUR armed robbers barged inside a private bank in uptown Cebu City at 10:33 a.m. yesterday.
Five minutes later, police’s radios crackled with messages: “All personnel intercept motorcycle bearing plate number...One suspect (is) wearing neon T-shirt, maong (denim) pants and a bull cap...Proceeding toward Osmeña Blvd.”
The bank’s security guards, employees and customers, however, showed no signs of panic.
Their faces showed confusion why there were police cars and journalists outside the bank.
The traffic flowed normally.
At 10:44 a.m., personnel of the Mobile Patrol Group (MPG) caught two of the robbers riding a motorcycle in Ayala area.
Two minutes later, the other two culprits, who transferred from a motorcycle to a van, were apprehended by a team of police officers who were patrolling on P. del Rosario St.
These series of events were only part of a holdup drama staged by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 to test the alertness and readiness of its men in responding to robbery incidents.
The supposed robbery happened under the jurisdiction of the Cebu City Police Office and the nearest police personnel who can respond to it were from Police Station 2 (formerly Fuente Police Station), which is now situated near Abellana National High School.
u201cNaa na silay idea unsay buhaton kon enkaso’g dunay tinuod nga (They now have an idea on what to do if there is an actual) robbery,” said Chief Insp. David Señor, Police Station 2 officer-in-charge.
The bank is just a stone-throw away from the old Fuente Police Station.
Similar exercises were conducted in the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.
On Sept. 5, 2011, an actual heist was pulled off by a gang allegedly led by Junjun Cabando outside a mall located a few meters away from the police station.
Three of Cabando’s cohorts and two security guards died during the incident.
The heist was botched when an MPG car passed by the area.
When the robbers opened fire at the vehicle, the three policemen inside it retaliated and called for assistance.
Chief Supt. Prudencio Tom Bañas, PRO 7 director, said the exercises yesterday were akin to a “dress rehearsal” and were done because they want to “know how fast, quick and efficient” the police would be in responding to future actual robbery incidents.