Cops nab suspect in P3.4-M CCT fund heist in Albay

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – After nearly 6 months, police finally caught one of the alleged robbers of the P3.4-million state aid to over a thousand poor families in Rapu-Rapu town in Albay, under the Pantawid ng Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), or the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program.

Senior Inspector Maria Luisa Calubaquib, PNP regional spokesperson, said Rapu-Rapu police arrested Henry Bibat, one of the suspects in the CCT fund heist, on Friday, July 15.

Henry 44, is the nephew of another suspect in the case, Villahermosa village councilor Eddie Bibat. Henry is the second most wanted by authorities in Rapu-Rapu, and is facing robbery charges at the Regional Trial Court in Legazpi City.

Authorities recommended a P100,000-bail for Henry.

Police Senior Inspector Arnel Bellen, Rapu-Rapu police chief, said in a report on Saturday, July 16,  that witnesses tagged Henry and his uncle as persons of interest in the CCT fund robbery on January 26. Eddie is still at large as of presstime.

Bellen said the Bibats have been implicated in the robbery incident after police investigators looked into the angle of an “inside job” based on evidence and witnesses' testimonies.

Eddie owns the boarding house rented by employees of the National Confederation Cooperative (Smart-Natco), where the robbery took place.

Smart-Natco is the local CCT conduit of the Land Bank of the Philippines in Batan Island, Rapu-Rapu. LandBank is the primary conduit of the poverty-alleviation program.

Henry and Eddie went missing after the robbery incident. Authorities also found  no signs of forcible entry at the back door of the boarding house where the suspects could have entered and exited.

Priscilla Salabaga, Department of Social Welfare and Development regional program coordinator of the CCT in Bicol, said the stolen funds where for 1,350 poor families in Batan Island covering 15 barangays.

Salabaga said the P3.4-million budget covers the months of September to October 2015. – Rappler.com