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AWOL cop held for robbery

A five-man robbery group allegedly led by an AWOL (absence without official leave) police officer gate-crashed into the grand birthday party of a 53-year-old woman at Betterliving subdivision in Parañaque City last Sunday and held up the celebrant and all her guests.

The AWOL cop, whose name has been withheld, was arrested on Monday by Parañaque City police operatives after the victims positively identified him through a closed-circuit television footage and a police rogue gallery, as one of the five robbers – four men and a woman — who ransacked the house of birthday celebrant of Rosemarie Moreno.

One of the victims, “Francis” (not his real name), recalled the nightmare he and his wife, daughter, and brother, experienced during the 52nd birthday celebration of Rosemarie last Sunday.

“Galing po kami ng pamilya ko ng simbahan. Tapos dumeretso po kami sa nanay ng kumare ko para dumalo sa salu-salo,” Francis told police yesterday.

Francis said that upon arrival at Moreno’s house, they saw a black car parked in front of the gate.

“Tapos biglang may lumabas na lalaki, nakaputi at nakasumbrero sa gate, pinapasok po kami at binuksan ‘yong gate, narrated Francis.

Upon entering the gate, a man wearing a black jacket came out of the front door and told them that the celebrant and other attendees were already waiting for them.

The man who opened the gate for Francis and her family brought out a karaoke machine, assisted by two other suspects.

Upon entering the house, Francis felt something odd because nobody was at the sala. Thinking that the other guests and the celebrant were on the second floor of the two-storey house, they sat on the sofa and waited for the men to come inside.

Reluctant at first, Francis’ brother finally entered the house and that was the time that the man in black jacket told them to go to the kitchen.

“Akala po namin doon ang handaan kaso pagdaan po namin sa CR, nandoon po sila (guests) nagsisiksikan. May bantay po sa kanila na may hawak na baril. Kami naman pinaderecho sa kusina,” said Francis.

After a couple of minutes, Francis said the other victims were forced to come out of the toilet to join them.

There, the suspects started divesting them of their personal belongings amounting to around P760,000.

“Pagkatapos po, ‘yung lalaking nagbukas sa amin ng gate nakipagpalit sa bantay sa CR. Paglapit niya sabi sakin, ‘mag-antay ka dyan kasi babalikan kita, papatayin kita’. Tapos iniwan nila kami sa kusina,” Francis said.

The suspects them proceeded at the second floor of the house and ransacked the rooms of the celebrant and her daughter.

After ten minutes, Francis decided to check and discovered that the suspects were already gone. They immediately went out of the house and asked for police assistance.

Parañaque policemen arrested the AWOL cop in his residence in Parañaque.

The suspect, also a member of the Parañaque Police, voluntarily went with the arresting officers and denied his involvement in the robbery.

PO3 Joel Romantico, officer on case, said the police officer was charged with a robbery case but it was dismissed.
The suspect was brought for inquest before the Parañaque City Prosecutor’s Office yesterday.
In a chance interview with the wife of the suspect, she said her husband’s involvement was impossible because he was with them the whole day last Sunday.
Follow-up investigation is underway for the apprehension of four other suspects. (Martin A. Sadongdong)