By MARTIN SADONGDONG
Five members of a notorious robbery gang headed by three brothers were killed after engaging policemen in a shootout Wednesday in Nasugbu, Batangas.
The policemen, armed with search and arrest warrants, were on their way to the group’s safehouse in Palakulan, Barangay Wawa when they were met by a hail of bullets from the suspects who barricaded themselves in the house.
The cops sought cover and returned fire, triggering a shootout that woke up the neighborhood at around 5:50 a.m.
The suspects were eventually overcome by the superior firepower of the police.
Chief Inspector Ronald Cayago, head of Nasugbu Municipal Police Station, identified the slain suspects as brothers Rudy, Roland, and Rico Francisco, Arian Hernandez and an alias Scoth Pacia, all of legal age.
Cayago said all five were members of the Francisco Robbery-Hold up Gang, responsible for a series of robberies in the province. They were also allegedly included in the Nasugbu Municipal Police Station’s drugs watch list.
Meanwhile, two other gang members identified only as “Eva” and “Erick Tiboli” surrendered to the police. They were placed under detention while charges were being prepared against them.
Rudy and Roland Francisco have pending warrants of arrest for robbery, according to Cayago.
The lawmen found a caliber .45 pistol, a magnum .22 and two caliber .38 revolvers, and a hand grenade.
The bodies of the suspects were brought to a local funeral parlor for autopsy.
Cayago said the brothers-operated crime group was behind the twin robbery attacks at a gasoline station and the house of a certain Al Perez last February in Nasugbu.
Last year, police said the group was also tagged in a R3-million robbery incident in Batangas City.
Tiboli, on the other hand, was involved in a robbery-hold up incident in Calaca, Batangas in 2015.
Cayago said the group was also responsible for a series of motorcycle theft in the recent years.