MANILA, Philippines - Two of the six suspects in the P14-million robbery at the moneychanger shop at the Robinson’s Galleria in Quezon City last March 29 were arrested in a town in Iloilo Monday.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Alan Purisima said Willy Enriquez and Ereno de la Cruz were on a motorcycle when they were cornered in Ajuy town in Iloilo at about 8 p.m. Monday.
Purisima said Enriquez yielded a .45 caliber pistol and De la Cruz a .38 caliber revolver.
“They sensed the presence of policemen and were on their way to Bacolod City to while away the days when cornered. They gave themselves up peacefully,” Purisima said.
Enriquez and De la Cruz were flown to Manila yesterday afternoon and are scheduled to be brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Chief Superintendent Mario de la Vega said Enriquez was identified by security guard Roderick Relocio as among the six suspects who intercepted the P14 million intended for the Sanry’s moneychanger shop in the basement of the Robinson’s Galleria last March 29.
A security guard, Rodrigo Villa, was killed in the firefight while Relocio and four others – Josua Toniza, Jeremy Rabe, Paul Adrian Sarmiento, and Lea del Mundo – were wounded.
The suspects fired indiscriminately and hurled two hand grenades – though only one exploded – to cover their escape on motorcycles.
De la Vega said Relocio broke into tears when presented with Enriquez’s photo from the rogue’s gallery of the Pasay City police, where the alleged member of the Ozamis robbery gang is facing robbery in band charges, also for robbing a moneychanger shop.
The Pasay City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 110 has issued a warrant for Enriquez’s arrest.
Bullets linked to other crimes
De la Vega said the bullets recovered at the heist bore the same marks as those yielded by a member of the Ozamis robbery gang who was killed in an encounter with security guards at the Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City last Feb. 10.
Bullets bearing the same marks as those in the Galleria robbery were also used in a shooting at the Appovel Subdivision in Cagayan de Oro City on Aug. 18, 2011; a robbery at a money remittance outlet in San Pedro, Laguna on July 9, 2011; and another shooting on Highway Babag 11 in Lapu-Lapu City on June 9, 2011.
Armed with an arrest warrant from the Pasay City court, police officers raided the Ozamis robbery gang’s known lairs in Parañaque City on April 5 and in Cavite and Taytay, Rizal on April 9, but came up empty-handed.
A tracker team from the QCPD, headed by Inspector Elmer Monsalve, rushed to Iloilo after an informant reported the presence of Enriquez in the area.
Chief Superintendent Cipriano Querol, director of the Police Regional Office 6, augmented Monsalve’s team with police officers from the towns of Lemery, Passi and Ajuy and the joint operation paid off with the arrest of Enriquez and De la Cruz.
De la Vega said they are sure of the participation of Enriquez in the Galleria heist, but they are still trying to determine the role of De la Cruz in the Ozamis gang. - By Non Alquitran