Pawnshop robbery: Police to file charges against 6 suspects
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Police here will be filing charges against six individuals including the alleged mastermind of the daring pawnshop robbery in Cebu City on Saturday, November 25.
Police Colonel Ireneo B. Dalogdog, City Director of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), told reporters on Tuesday, November 29, that they are now preparing to file robbery in band, illegal possession of firearms and explosives, and violation of the Commission on Election gun ban against the suspects.
It can be recalled that the peace along Colon Street was shattered when four armed men who claimed to be law enforcers robbed a pawnshop and jewelry store in broad daylight.
Armed with various high-powered firearms, the men stuffed the pieces of jewelry inside a bag and immediately fled on board two motorcycles.
The pawnshop robbery was completed in just 2 minutes, investigators say.
After the incident, police in Cebu City immediately launched an investigation to identify and catch the perpetrators.
The assailants were found to be from an organized robbery group that usually operates in Cebu and Mindanao.
A day after the robbery, police held two persons of interest from a barangay in Mandaue City who are believed to be involved in the case.
After further investigation, the arrested couple was determined to be accomplices.
Norman Lopez Manuel was allegedly one of the local contacts of the group while his live-in partner, Marcelyn Sonor also acted as an accomplice. The two were taken into custody by Mandaue Police before they were transferred to the CCPO.
Manuel was identified to be a former rebel and the brother of Jefferson Manuel, former commander of the New People’s Army.
On Monday dawn, November 27, a checkpoint in Sibonga town led to the interception of two more alleged suspects.
After recognizing a red sedan as the alleged get-away vehicle used by the robbers, police apprehended Dan Carlos Geverola Flores and Jordan Ramos Baquinao who initially attempted to escape.
Baquinao was previously charged with murder and was found to be the alleged suspect in a shooting incident in Argao town on Friday, November 24.
Dalogdog said that Flores and Baquinao chose to execute their extrajudicial confessions where they named Flores’ uncle, Jigger Geverola, as the mastermind.
During a hot-pursuit operation, Geverola was arrested without any struggle in Argao, Cebu on Tuesday, November 28.
On the same night, police also nabbed another man believed to be linked to the robbery identified as Jerum Cambarijan, one of the two men who went inside the store.
Cambarijan was arrested by virtue of a search warrant for possession of loose firearms and illegal drugs in Sitio Magkabayo, Barangay Capio-an, Argao, Cebu.
According to Dalogdog, Baquiano has been working as an employee of Geverola. He stated that the latter previously sent gifts to the victim of the shooting incident possibly to convince the complainant to not file charges against Baquiano.
After Baquinao and his nephew were caught, Geverola allegedly went to the Cebu City Police Station aiming to clear his name because of a hunch that his name would be involved.
However, police had no information on his alleged involvement at the time and he was able to leave.
Geverola also allegedly instructed the two men to hide the getaway vehicle after hearing that their escape was captured on camera. After picking up the vehicle that was parked in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City, they headed to Sibonga town where they were caught.
Dalogdog said that the criminals were seen driving away from the scene and stopping in a certain area.
One of the four men, who was carrying a backpack where the firearms and pieces of jewelry were believed to be hidden, got off and went inside a red sedan.
Through the CCTV footage, the plate number was identified. However, it was replaced with a cardboard that read “For Registration” when the car was recovered.
Dalogdog said that once the charges are filed in court, the case will be considered closed.
He also stated that he was contacted by police from Cagayan de Oro after video of the robbery circulated online.
Police there informed Dalogdog of a similar incident in Cagayan de Oro on August 2, where the same modus was used by the perpetrators.
After finding other similarities between the two incidents, Dalogdog said that they would be looking into the possibility that it was committed by the same group.
Dalogdog relayed that the 6 individuals are alleged members of an organized robbery group that is a remnant of the Parojinog crime group.
The Parojinog group was a crime syndicate that dealt with illegal drugs and other criminal activities in Misamis Occidental.
The group was dismantled after police killed members of the founding Parojinog family during an operation in August 2017.
Dalogdog said that they are not discounting the fact that a still unidentified individual, who holds some power, acts as the financial supporter of the group.
This group allegedly operates in Mindanao and Cebu where their local contacts include Manuel and Geverola.
Aside from the unidentified supplier, Dalogdog stated that they are also considering the owner of the getaway vehicle as a person of interest.
The red sedan was reportedly owned by a resident of Surigao City who is involved in a mining business in Mindanao.
The owner told police that the car had been sold online. However, they found that its registration was renewed last October 20 in Lapu-Lapu City.
Dalogdog said that they will be conducting further investigation on the two other persons of interest.
While the getaway vehicle, firearms, and even the clothes worn during the pawnshop robbery were recovered, the stolen jewelry remained unaccounted for.
According to Dalogdog, there is a possibility that the stolen items were already melted as it would be difficult for the robbers to sell them as is without being detected.
He also stated that they received information that a group was planning a heist either in Mandaue or Cebu City a month before the incident.
Dalogdog admitted that the criminals were able to execute their plan because they were unable to monitor all activities because of how big the city was.
However, he assured that they are doing everything they can to ensure that Cebu City remains safe and peaceful.
With 6 alleged suspects detained, Dalogdog stated that the case would be closed once the charges were filed in court.
He added that they will continue their efforts to catch all those involved in the daytime pawnshop robbery.
“Kami karon, padayon gihapon mi sa backtracking sa atong CCTV footage para makuha gyud nato ang kompleto nga detalye kung asa gyud sila nang-agi. Padayon gihapon ta sa atong information gathering para kining ubang suspects, ma-identify gihapon nato,” stated Dalogdog.
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