GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – Authorities arrested suspected robbers, including two members of the Davao City police, at a highway checkpoint in the village of Tinagacan in General Santos City on Tuesday night, October 4.
Brigadier General Jamaili Macaraeg, the police director in the Soccsksargen region, identified the four suspects as Chief Master Sergeant Renante Medina, Master Sergeant Christopher Ararao, Edwin Salvador, and Winston Jay Ongco. All the suspects are from Davao City.
Davao Region police director Brigadier General Benjamin Silo deplored the robbery, and ordered Medina and Ararao relieved on Wednesday, October 5.
Silo also relieved Medina’s and Ararao’s superiors, according to Davao City police spokesperson Major Catherine dela Rey.
Until their arrest, the 45-year-old Ararao was a member of the Davao City Police’s Station No. 6 while the 44-year-old Medina served in the Davao City Police Office’s Bicycle Unit.
Police pressed charges of robbery in band with the use of firearms against the suspects.
In a statement, the Davao Region police said administrative cases were also being prepared against the two arrested cops.
“[The] Police Regional Office-11 (Davao Region) would not tolerate any personnel engaging in any acts of lawlessness or crimes. Hence, everyone could expect a fair and honest investigation,” read part of the statement.
The four men from Davao City were accused of robbing 37-year-old fish trader Jacky Faeldin who subsequently sought the help of Police Station 7 in Barangay Fatima, General Santos.
Flagged down on a section of the highway in Tinagacan, the suspects introduced themselves as policemen to get past the police checkpoint on their way back to Davao, said Macaraeg.
Macaraeg said the suspects were unaware that they were placed on the General Santos police’s watchlist, and that a tracker team was fielded immediately after Faeldin reported the robbery.
Police said the four suspects used a metallic gray Hyundai sports utility vehicle loaded with firearms and rifle grenades.
Authorities seized from the group police uniforms, a 5.56 mm Bushmaster rifle, 5.56 mm rifle, two .45 caliber pistols, a rifle grenade, two 9 mm pistols, 10 mobile phones, assorted ammunition, various identification cards, and cash amounting to P165,112.
Faeldin alleged that the suspects barged into his house in Barangay San Jose, and carted away cash, mobile phones, and other valuables.
The four suspects were detained at the General Santos City Police Office and were still undergoing interrogation as of this posting.
An intelligence operative said investigators were looking into the suspects’ possible links to a bigger robbery syndicate operating in Mindanao. – with reports from Ferdinand Zuasola/Rappler.com