by Harley F. Palangchao
Quick police operation led to the arrest of three suspects, including a policeman, who allegedly robbed a local gold buying station with P270,000 worth of gold and cash at Upper Magsaysay in Baguio.
The robbery with intimidation reportedly occurred at Gina Trading Gold Buy and Sell shop at around 10:15 a.m. of Feb. 3.
Victims Gina Estole, 33 and Jacquelyn Rosado, 53, told police investigators that the suspects entered the establishment and one of them pointed a gun to them.
The suspects divested the victims raw gold worth P200,000, P70,000 cash, and one mobile phone and fled.
Baguio City Police Office Station 7 operatives intercepted them at Gate 2 of Camp John Hay after immediately conducting a hot pursuit against the suspects, who were onboard a blue-colored Nissan van with license plate AJA 597.
Supt. Cherry Manabat, regional information officer of the Cordillera police command, identified the arrested suspects as Michel K. Catugna, Efren D. Sidatantes Jr., and Police Officer 2 Reynaldo P. Daming Jr.
Daming is reportedly assigned at the PNP Aviation Security Group in Pasay City.
Police operatives also recovered from Daming a Glock 17 .9mm pistol.
The raw gold and cash seized from the gold buying station were also recovered.
Manabat said the C/Supt. Ulysses Abellera, Cordillera police director, assured that no special treatment will be extended to any of the suspects, saying the command doesn’t tolerate any wrongdoing in the PNP organization.
PNP Director General Ricardo Marquez vowed to institute reforms to ensure the 150,000-strong police force nationwide will have the full trust and confidence of the Filipinos when he assumed the top post in July 2015.
“We know that our main mission as law enforcers is to fight crime. However, when crime fighters coddle criminals or become criminals themselves, our citizens learn to distrust, and even condemn, not just those few erring cops, but the whole organization as well,” Marquez said.
“Sa mga kapulisang matino at malinis ang hangaring maglingkod sa bayan, hindi ba kayo nagngingitngit tuwing naririnig ninyo ‘yung pasaring na ‘palibhasa pulis’ kapag may nangongotong o naghu-hulidap? Gaya ko, sawang-sawa na rin ba kayo sa ganitong pananaw sa atin ng publiko? Oo naman. Nakakapikon ang paulit-ulit na pagkakasangkot ng mga kapulisan sa ilegal na gawain,” he added.