MANILA, Philippines - Four of 15 persons who barged into the Las Piñas house of Banco Filipino owner Albert “Bobby” Aguirre and killed three of his security personnel last April 7 were presented to members of media during a press conference yesterday.
Las Piñas police chief Senior Superintendent Romulo Sapitula said Allan “Adobo” Penafuerte, 30; John Jose Mitz, 19; and a 17-year-old boy were arrested by his men while a certain Gerald Reyes surrendered to the Parañaque police.
The police have also identified the rest of the suspects and filed three counts of murder against all 15 of them before the Las Piñas prosecutor’s office.
“Based on what (Penafuerte) told me, they’ve planned it for two weeks. But it’s too early to believe him because (three other men) who originally planned the break-in have yet to be arrested,” Sapitula said.
Penafuerte was among the four men – including the group’s two alleged leaders, Alberto Doctor and an alias Bagwis – who met last April 4 in Zapote to discuss the plan. Investigators said the suspects discussed the break-in only twice. The first was on April 4 and the second was in the Agasi Bar in Quirino Avenue hours before the attack on April 7.
Aguirre’s security guard, David Manguera, and two policemen – Senior Police Officer 2 Melvin Padaca and PO3 Luisito Macatunao – from the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) were killed in the attack.
The group used two cars, a taxi, and a motorcycle owned by Mitz and entered Aguirre’s compound through the gate on Pablo Roman street in BF Homes International Resort.
A closed-circuit television footage of the incident showed that the red Honda sedan arrived first and dropped some of its passenger by the gate. It was followed by a black Toyota Vios, the motorcycle and the taxi.
According to Sapitula, Manguera opened the gate after hearing the motorcycle honk. A shootout ensued and the suspects scampered.
“We weren’t expecting a gun fight. I thought we will just rob the house,” Reyes told reporters when asked why they ran away.
‘No perfect crime’
Investigators initially ruled out robbery after nothing was reported missing in Aguirre’s house except for Padaca’s handgun. Chief Superintendent Benito Estipona, head of the Southern Police District, said investigators changed their minds after “thoroughly” analyzing what happened.
According to Sapitula, the suspects never bothered to get Aguirre during the break-in, which lasted for about five minutes. Sapitula added that the suspects even brought with them empty sacks and an acetylene torch that night. The sacks, he said, are where the suspects would place the money.
“They were presuming that there is a safe inside the house. If tanda (old man) will refuse, they will open the safe using the torch,” Sapitula said, adding the old man referred to was Aguirre.
According to Sapitula, the MC Rusi motorcycle with plate number 3962 WL, which was left behind in Aguirre’s compound, led to the breakthrough in the case.
He said Mitz was invited for questioning after a check revealed that he was the owner of the vehicle. Mitz initially claimed that the motorcycle was stolen but later admitted to participating in the crime, said Sapitula.
“This only shows that there is no such thing as a perfect crime,” Estipona said, adding that there is an ongoing manhunt for the 11 other suspects.
In a press conference, National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Alan Purisima congratulated the Las Piñas police and Southern Police District for “solving” the case.
Aguirre’s lawyer Melo Mendoza, however, said the press conference was “premature unless those accused of planning the robbery have been arrested.” - By Aie Balagtas See and Non Alquitran