By MARTIN SADONGDONG
Four unidentified gunmen barged inside a hotel in Pasay City and took away around P4 million in cash and other valuables, mostly from an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and his companions a day after New Year’s Day.
Case investigator Police Officer 3 Catalino Gazmen said the robbers, aged between 25 to 30 years, forced their way inside the Mabuhay Manor Hotel along Ortigas Street in Pasay around 3:19 a.m..
Closed circuit television (CCTV) footage inside the hotel showed the four suspects taking away cash and valuables from the victims identified as siblings Dominador Castro, 57, Roberto Castro, 50, and Josephine Tadoy, 54, and her husband Alex, 62; Rudy de Guzman, 48, night auditor of the hotel, Jay-ar Papa, 24, front desk clerk, and Jho-an Jabagat, 30, security guard.
In an exclusive interview with the Bulletin/Tempo, Tadoy said that they were about to check out of the hotel and settle their fees when the suspects barged in and declared a robbery hold-up. Tadoy said that his brother Dominador, who just arrived in the country from United States, checked-in at the hotel on November 26.
A police report said that guard Jabagat was immediately disarmed when the suspects arrived while Tadoy said three of the suspects wore face masks.
“Pacheckout na sana kami dahil pupunta kami ng Pangasinan at Nueva Ecija to meet our relatives. Pagpasok nila (suspects), pinadapa kami tapos ‘yung isang suspek na walang takip ang mukha sumisigaw siya ‘Nasaan ang vault, nasaan ang vault?” said Tadoy.
The gunman without a mask approached desk clerk Papa and slammed his head into the wall for refusing to point out the location of the vault.
“Humingi ako ng tubig kasi hina-highblood na ako. ‘Yung kapatid ko (Roberto) humingi ng tubig sa mga suspek, buti binigyan naman kami pero binantaan kami na ‘wag daw kami gagawa ng ingay kasi papatayin daw kami,” added Tadoy.
Another suspect then punched team leader De Guzman while he was at the cashier, dragged him and demanded to locate and open the vault.
Among the things divested by the suspects were Dominador’s Presidente Rolex watch, cellphone, backpack, gold necklace and gold ring all valued at USD 62,015; Roberto’s watch, eyeglass, Ipad, powerbank and cellphone totalling USD2,900 and R3,000 cash; Josephine’s backpack, cellphones, wedding ring, gold bracelet, dollars, earrings worth USD2,100 and P12,000 in total; and Alex’s P10,000 cash, cellphone, digital watch, gold ring worth USD1,730. Assorted IDs bank accounts and ATM cards were also taken from the siblings.
Also taken by the robbers were De Guzman’s P6,000; Papa’s cellphone worth P12,000; Jabagat’s caliber .38 revolver and cellphone worth P13,000, the hotel’s income worth around P53,000 as well as the company phone valued at P6,000.
Gazmen said they are eyeing inside job as one of the possible motives behind the robbery incident since the management of the hotel failed to deposit their hotel income to the bank.
“Tinitingnan natin ‘yan dahil posibleng may nagsabi sa isa sa mga empleyado ng impormasyon na hindi na-remit ‘yung kita ng hotel sa mga suspek,” he said in a separate interview.
The suspects fled towards Service Road along Roxas Boulevard using a black Hyundai Starex van. The plate number of the van, Gazmen said, has yet to be determined.