Policemen arrested at about 11 a.m. yesterday five persons, two of them members of an alleged robbery-hold-up group, and recovered a cache of high-powered firearms, after a brief firefight in Sitio Alu, Brgy. Enclaro, Binalbagan, Negros Occidental.
While nobody was injured, Inspector Albert Sy, Binalbagan police chief, yesterday said the incident led to the arrest of two robbery-hold-up suspects identified as Rene Alvarez, and Raymond Ta-ala, both 28, and residents of Himamaylan City, and three women identified as Lolita Oibar, 54, Jimema Mandin, 56, and Nicole Mandin, 28, for violation of PD 1829, also known as obstruction to apprehension of criminal offenders.
Sy said a 9mm Ingram machine pistol with a magazine containing 14 rounds of ammunition, a fragmentation grenade and a bladed weapon were recovered from Alvarez, while a .45 caliber pistol with two magazines containing 10 rounds of bullet and a 357 magnum revolver were seized from Ta-ala.
Police records show that Alvarez has pending arrest warrants for the crimes of attempted murder and direct assault upon an agent of person in authority, issued by Himamaylan City Judges Nilo Sarsaba and Cyclamen Fernandez-Gayatao, who recommended bails of P120,000 and P12,000, respectively, for them.
Sy said Alvarez resisted arrest and engaged in a firefight with the combined team of Binalbagan and Himamaylan police, 6th Criminal Investigation and Detection Group as well as 5th Maneuver Platoon of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office.
The brief gunbattle was followed by a negotiation that led to the surrender of Alvarez and Taala, and the apprehension of the three women.
Alvarez, one of the most wanted persons, in Himamaylan City, and his companions were monitored to have been hiding in the house of Oibar in Brgy. Enclaro, Binalbagan. The information led to the joint operations against them by police units in Negros Occidental.
Recovered from the scene of the incident were 17 spent shells and deformed slugs of 9mm, .45 caliber pistols and a 357 magnum revolver.
Sy also told the DAILY STAR that the group of Alvarez also allegedly engaged in gun-for-hire activities and almost killed a member of the Himamaylan City Police Station on Sunday, aside from robbery-hold-up activities.*GPB