The police filed a robbery in band complaint before the Bacolod City Prosecutor's Office yesterday against 20 members of the Ozamis Gang and the driver of the van they used in robbing the F & C Pawnshop and Jewelry Store at Gonzaga Street of P1 million in jewelry Saturday.
Charged were Wagner Minggol, "alias Oliver" of Camaloc Tabuk, Kalinga Apayao; Gaudencio Monopollo Jr., with unknown address; Horry Bangiwan of San Carlos Heights, Baguio City; and James Gonzales of Cubao, Quezon City, Station 1 commander, Chief Insp. Danilo Francisco, said.
Also charged were Rolan Tambasen, 45, of Purok Sunflower, Brgy. Taculing, driver of the maroon Escapade van rented by the suspects, and 16 other "John Does", Francisco said.
Tambasen was included in the charges because of the inconsistencies noted in his statements, Francisco added.
Tambasen told the media Saturday that, before the robbery, the suspects wrapped his face with a packing tape and hogtied him. After the heist, they left him in the van near the old slaughterhouse in Brgy. 36, Bacolod, and that he was only freed by a trisikad driver.
However, Bacolod City Police officer-in-charge, Senior Supt. Edgardo Ordaniel, said a witness saw Tambasen at the driver’s seat of the van while the robbery was in progress and that when the policemen arrived in Brgy. 36, the packing tape was already around his neck.
Police Regional Office-6 director, Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, ordered the relief of BCPO Intelligence Branch chief, Senior Insp. Jose Mulleta Saturday, and replaced him with Insp. Mark Jungco; while the relief of Francisco is still being studied, Ordaniel said.
Despite the spate of robberies in Bacolod, Ordaniel still has the trust and confidence of businessmen, Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Frank Carbon said yesterday.
A day before the pawnshop robbery, a meeting between Ordaniel and the businessmen was held, where he updated them on police investigations about the Central Negros Electric Cooperative and the Prenda Negrense and Jewelry Store heists, both believed to be perpetrated by the Acetylene and Ozamis robbery gangs.
Carbon warned that the series of robbery incidents could send potential investors away.
Ordaniel said the police should not be solely blamed because the businessmen should also exert efforts to secure their establishments.
He conducted a conference with his staff and the chiefs of the 10 police stations yesterday, where he emphasized the importance of visiting the banks and pawnshops in their areas, to ensure that security measures are in place, Ordaniel said.
Negros Occidental Provincial Police officer-in-charge, Senior Supt. Celestino Guara, also said he ordered intensified security following the robberies in Bacolod.
Information received by the Bacolod Police showed that three of the suspects were spotted at a resort in the eastern part of Negros Occidental after the robbery on Saturday.*APN