Without witnesses, suspect in P4.8M school heist walks
THE Cebu City police has released from detention a female teller of the University of San Carlos-Talamban Campus who was accused of taking away P4.8 million worth of school proceeds last March 21.
SPO2 Justino Paragados of the Theft and Robbery Section of the Cebu City Police Office said not one witness appeared before their office within 36 hours since the suspect was arrested.
“The reglementary period has lapsed, and there was no witness who came forward. We didn’t have another choice but to release the suspect,” he said.
Without a witness, Paragados said whatever complaint will not prosper when filed before the prosecutor’s office.
Lawyer Leilani Villarino said they were happy that her client was released by the police.
“Investigators merely relied on a CCTV (closed-circuit television) footage provided by the university. However, you really cannot decipher with absolute certainty who the thief was. It’s unfair to accuse my client of something she did not commit,” she told CDN.
The suspect has been with USC for 38 years, and Villarino said there was no reason for her client to steal especially that the latter’s children are all abroad and have been providing enough support to their mother.
“There was even no eyewitness to the actual theft,” she said.
The CCTV footage showed two persons who wore masks, gloves and jackets enter one of the offices at 1:35 a.m. on Tuesday.
One of the thieves reportedly took the money from a vault.
At least three employees identified the suspect as one of the thieves solely based on her body movements — a claim which Villarino found ridiculous and unfair.
Cerwin Eviota, consultant on communications of USC, said they provided the police with everything they needed, including the CCTV footages.
“From day one, the university has been cooperative,” he said.
Eviota said he, however, is not privy as to why the witnesses, who were assisted by their lawyers, did not come forward to the police to formally testify against the suspect.
“The police had to do it (release the suspect). It was a matter of procedure. They had to do it technically,” Eviota said.
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