Phone unlocking leads to arrest of robbery, rape suspects in Davao del Sur
DIGOS CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — Police in Davao del Sur province are calling on the victims of a gang mainly involved in robbery and rape cases to come out and file charges against its members who fell into a police dragnet last week.
A visit to a phone repair shop after a robbery put the suspects under the authorities’ radar, leading to their eventual arrest.
Rosemarie Himpayan, 42, her live-in partner Barie Lonzaga, 24, and son Rodolfo Dabon Jr., who is in his early 20s, underwent inquest proceedings before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Digos City last March 27, for alleged robbery with rape, and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
A fourth suspect, Joel Dabon, another son of Rosemarie, was killed after allegedly fighting off police officers who were going to arrest him.
According to Col. Geusseppe Geralde, Davao del Sur police director, authorities were alerted at dawn on March 24, of a robbery and rape in Barangay Maliit Digos of Hagonoy town, allegedly perpetrated by a group of armed men.
The armed men had fled when the law enforcers arrived in the village.
Thinking the suspects could have fled outside Hagonoy, the provincial police office mobilized the police stations of nearby Digos City and Matanao town, the provincial intelligence unit, and the first and second provincial mobile force companies. It also alerted the Regional Special Operations Group, Regional Mobile Force Battalion, and the Regional Intelligence Unit.
As if in a stroke of luck, the Hagonoy police station received a phone call from an informant later that day about a man and a woman who went to his shop to have a cell phone unlocked.
The repairman told police that he saw in the phone photos of his classmate who turned out to be the victim. This prompted the police to take hold of the phone and arrest the couple who had the phone fixed.
When quizzed by police officers, Himpayan and Lonzaga disclosed that Rodolfo and Joel were hiding in a safehouse in Barangay New Katipunan of Matanao town.
During a raid in Matanao on the afternoon of March 25, Joel was shot dead in a shootout with police officers and was pronounced dead upon arrival at a hospital in nearby Bansalan town.
Rodolfo was able to escape from Matanao but was eventually arrested in a mountain village of Malalag town on the afternoon of March 26.
Himpayan admitted that her role was to sell or pawn the valuable items the group carted away during the robbery.
Geralde said the profiles of the suspects mostly fit the descriptions of previous victims.
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