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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE photojournalist of The Daily Guardian is mulling criminal raps against the household of Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr. for detaining her and confiscating her personal belongings Friday afternoon.

Tara Yap said she was detained for more than 20 minutes inside the luxurious compound of Tupas in MV Hechanova, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Yap was on assignment to verify reports that another structure was being constructed inside the compound.

She was also instructed to take pictures of the mansion and new structure as part of the investigative report on lifestyles of public officials.

Yap took a taxi to the Tupas mansion bringing along her camera and personal items.

When they were some 150 feet away from the gate of the Tupas mansion, Yap said she did not notice any activity, thus she decided to leave.

She told the driver to go back and leave but a long-haired man dashed towards the taxi. The man knocked on the taxi’s window, opened the door on the right passenger’s side and ordered the driver not to leave.

Yap said she identified herself as member of The Daily Guardian by showing her ID card.

Then another man came over the taxi and ordered Yap to hand over her digital camera (Canon 350D) which she laid on the taxi seat.

The long-haired person who first accosted Yap then grabbed and searched her bag. Both men accused Yap of taking videos of the Tupas mansion.

Yap told the two men that she did not take any video or photograph and even showed the files in her camera to prove her point.

Yap said the long-haired man made a call in his cellphone and later gave his cellphone to Yap saying that Nielette “Tweety” Tupas-Balleza wanted to talk her.

Yap said Balleza, the only daughter of Gov. Tupas, accused her as the person who took videos and photographs of government-owned heavy equipment seen working in the governor’s house in Banate town.

But Yap repeatedly denied Balleza’s accusation.

After her conversation with Balleza, the long-haired man seized Yap’s two cellphones, Blackberry 8700 and Nokia 3310, and told her to go inside the governor’s mansion.

Yap stayed inside the compound where she noticed several men working on a new structure right beside the Tupas mansion.

Yap was later released after talking to Atty. Joenar Pueblo of the Provincial Legal office over the cell phone.

Yap said Pueblo acknowledged that her presence there was part of her work as a journalist.

“Atty. Pueblo told me to tell the men who accosted me that I was just doing my job as a media practitioner,” Yap said.

The two men later returned Yap’s belongings and released her from detention.

But she was later surprised when she learned that a certain Rey Balleza De Ramas, 33, a caretaker at the Tupas mansion, went to the Jaro PNP station and reported her presence at the mansion.

De Ramas alleged in the blotter report that Yap committed unjust vexation and violated Tupas’ privacy by taking pictures of the mansion sans their permission.

Yap said the incident caused in her fear, anxiety, prejudice, and violation of her human rights, reason why she is mulling criminal raps against Tupas and his caretaker.

As regards the Banate video and photographs, these were handed to The Daily Guardian by a source who took the said materials several months ago.

Yap went to Banate last month to verify the existence of Tupas’ house in Banate. She only took pictures of the finished house but these were never published.

Yap said her Canon digital camera can only take still photographs and has no capability to take videos.

SPY

The Tupas camp accused Yap of being a spy for another politician.

“I was illegally detained.  I did not commit any crime,” Yap said

Yap said she never resisted the orders of Tupas’ male caretakers. She said she could have been physically hurt if she resisted.

The Tupas camp alleged that Yap is a spy and in the payroll of 4th district Rep. Ferjenel Biron.

“I was never paid and I am not a spy.  Besides, a journalist cannot masquerade as a spy. I have an integrity to maintain,” she added.

Yap is also a correspondent of Manila Bulletin and international news wire service Agence France-Presse (AFP).

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

WHAT’S wrong with taking photographs of a public official’s property?

A legal luminary and former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines said Tara Yap, photojournalist of The Daily Guardian, did not violate any law when she went near  the mansion of Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr. in MV Hechanova, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Atty. Hans Sayno said Yap did not violate Tupas’ privacy as she was outside the governor’s multimillion peso mansion while working on an investigative report assignment.

The Daily Guardian assigned Yap to check reports that a new structure was being constructed beside Tupas’ mansion. The building is believed to be the house of Nielette “Tweety” Tupas-Balleza, the governor’s only daughter, who works as an executive assistant at the Office of the Governor.

Sayno said the Constitution guarantees the people’s right to information, particularly the conduct and lifestyle of public officials and employees such as Gov. Tupas and Tupas-Balleza.

Sayno said if Yap took pictures of the Tupas residence outside its gates, “I don’t think she violated the privacy of the household.”

“Taking pictures of a house is just like looking at the building. In the case of a camera, the image is registered in the memory chip of the instrument. There is nothing wrong if you take pictures of a house, especially that of a public official,” Sayno said over Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo.

Sayno said the extent of the right to privacy of a public official is less compared to a private individual.

“The penumbra of a public official’s right to privacy is lower than that of a private person. Public officials should expect public scrutiny of their lifestyle and conduct. In the case of Tara Yap, she is a media practitioner and the Constitution guarantees her right to expression and press freedom,” Sayno said.

Sayno said Yap could have intruded the governor’s privacy if she went inside parts of the house which are normally not considered public.

“If Ms. Yap went to the bathroom of Gov. Tupas’ house and took pictures of his toothbrush and how he brushes his teeth, there might have been invasion of property. But if she was situated outside the house, she did not intrude the privacy of the house,” he added.

Atty. Dennis Ventilacion, legal counsel of The Daily Guardian, said Yap was working as a journalist when she went to the vicinity of Tupas’ mansion.

Ventilacion said public officials are subject to scrutiny, particularly their lifestyle, and must allow the public to look into their wealth as mandated by Republic Act No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees).

RA 6713 also mandates that “public officials and employees and their families shall lead modest lives appropriate to their positions and income. They shall not indulge in extravagant or ostentatious display of wealth in any form.”

Ventilacion said the acts of Tupas’ caretakers to grab Yap’s belongings and bring her inside the mansion against her will can be considered theft and illegal detention.

“If you restrain a person in a certain area against her will, that is illegal detention. If you grab her personal things without her permission, that is theft,” said Ventilacion who is a member of the IBP board of directors.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

TWO district hospitals refused to accept two units of blood sample analyzers for reasons that the purchased equipments did not match the requirements in the purchase request.

The managements of the Federico Roman Tirador Sr. Memorial District Hospital (FRTMDH) and Ramon Tabiana Memorial District Hospital (RTMDH) said the hematology analyzers bought by the provincial capitol lack necessary components and are unreliable.

The two hematology analyzers were supplied by Crestline Scientific Corp. as part of the 2008 Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) which has a total funding of P33 million.

The HFEP is meant to upgrade hospital equipments in the province and is funded out of the Department of Health budget.

The hematology analyzers are used to examine blood samples.

Based on the purchase orders, each machine costs more or less P2.9 million.

The machines were delivered in September to FRTMDH and RTMDH but the chiefs of the two hospitals refused to accept the analyzers.

Drs. Noel Roy Gigare, FRTMDH head, and Levi Osea, RTMDH chief, sent letters to the Bids and Awards Committee headed by Atty. Salvador Cabaluna III why they cannot accept the machines.

The two hospital officials said the hematology analyzers delivered by Crestline lacked built-in mixers which were specified in the purchase request.

The mixers are necessary to provide correct proportion of blood and anticoagulant ratio, minimize destruction of the blood sample and eliminate manual agitation or mixing which might affect the result.

The delivered machines also lacked micro-cap inlets which was included in the purchase request.

Osea and Gigare said the micro-cap inlet is advantageous as it is convenient to use in blood samples of pediatric or child patients. There is no need to use anticoagulant tubes and syringes for specimen collection.

Also, small amount of blood is needed because it requires fingertip pricking aside from providing easy and fast results.

The machine also showed defects when tested by medical technologists of the two hospitals.

Gigare said in his letter that Crestline’s machines delivered unreliable and erroneous results.

Osea complained his letter that Crestline did not provide a procedure manual for the machine.

The machines also needed more calibration and require more time and longer orientation and supervision to perform various examinations.

Osea has reportedly resigned from his post but not because of the controversy but due to his application for a US immigrant visa.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

GOOD enough.

This was the reaction of C/Insp. Conrado Carganillo, Iloilo City Proper police chief, with the filing of homicide charge against the suspects in the death of an office accountant and secretary early this year.

Carganillo said the filing of the case confirmed their investigation that Julife Balbanida did not commit suicide but was shot to death.

Balbanida, a native of Arevalo, Iloilo City, was found dead February 4 inside the comfort room of Uni Eco Steel Corp. on Valeria Street, Iloilo City.

The Iloilo City Prosecutors Office (ICPO) has approved the filing of homicide charges with the Regional Trial Court against Teofilo and Raymond Kho, owners of sang Uni Eco Steel and employee Ike Panganiban.  

The suspects initially claimed that Balbanida committed suicide inside the CR but the Iloilo City Proper police discovered evidence that point to foul play.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) originally filed murder raps against the Khos and Panganiban April 2009 but the ICPO lowered the charges to homicide.

Carganillo said they sought the help of the NBI in gathering more evidence and statements of witnesses and suspects “because we have no subpoena powers.”

“The NBI can summon any person for investigation through a subpoena. We were able to gather more proof of foul play with the help of the NBI,” Carganillo said.

Carganillo said they are contented with the decision of the ICPO “as it proves that Balbinada was killed and did not commit suicide.”

“We are vindicated. At least, the prosecutors were able to find probable cause to sue the suspects for homicide.” Carganillo said.

Based on the final NBI investigation report, Balbanida’s death was not a case of suicide as claimed by her employers.

NBI Special Agent (SA) Ernesto Lim said Balbanida was killed after the Kos discovered the tampered check worth P60,000 which they entrusted to the victim being the accountant and trusted employee.

The altered check surfaced after bank employee Paul Albert Javian brought it to Uni-Eco to verify Teofilo Kho’s signature.

The Khos wondered why the check was marked “paid to cash” instead of indicating the name of the payee.

“The situation worsened when the employers alleged that they discovered more tampered checks after conducting their own investigation. The killing emanated from the discovery of dishonesty, deceit and fraud allegedly committed by the victim when she was entrusted huge amounts of money. Another reason is the alleged abuse of confidence by the victim who virtually ran the finances of the company. When they discovered the anomaly, they erupted. These are the crystal clear motives of the respondents,” Lim said in his investigation.

While they cannot determine who shot Balbanida, the NBI said the Khos and Panganiban were the only persons with the victim before she was found dead inside the CR.

“Panganiban is not part of management and he claimed that it was his day off when the incident happened. But he was there after he was summoned by his employers. Why was he there when he had nothing to do with money matters? He is too obedient,” Lim said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE alleged fake priest soliciting for money in exchange for prayers for the dead visited two government offices based in Iloilo City.

Edwin Trompeta, Department of Tourism regional director, said a certain Charles Lobaton went to their office on Bonifacio Drive, Iloilo City last week and introduced himself as a member of the Franciscan Missionaries in Quezon City.

Trompeta said Lobaton first called his office two months ago to invite him to view antique furniture he is selling.

“But I had no time to visit his place as I was very busy. He called our office three times to invite me. I even learned that he also went to the offices of the Department of Education, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG),” Trompeta said.

The DILG is headed by Trompeta’s wife, Evelyn.

Last Friday, Lobaton appeared at the DOT office with an image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

Since Trompeta was out of town, DOT employees entertained Lobaton who distributed envelopes for prayer intentions and donations.

“He even sold religious frames to the employees. He even told our employees that the DOT is very lucky because our office was the last place to be visited by the image which is bound to return to Barcelona, Spain,” he added.

On Sunday, Lobaton called the Trompetas’ residence and asked for an audience with the DOT chief even for just 15 minutes.

Lobaton finally met Trompeta and they discussed about the relief efforts and donation drive of the Franciscan Missionaries.

“Lobaton told me that their school in Pangasinan was damaged during the flood and they are asking for donations,” Trompeta said.

Trompeta said he asked for Lobaton’s address and contact number “but he kept changing the details he gave me.”

When Trompeta verified Lobaton’s identity and affiliation with the Franciscan Missionaries, he learned that the religious order was composed mostly of nuns.

“They only have a handful of priests whom they know by heart and they cannot recall any member by the name of Charles Lobaton. That’s when I became suspicious of this person,” Trompeta said.

The Franciscan Missionaries also told Trompeta that their members bear ID cards and authorization letters to conduct religious activities.

Trompeta said he referred the matter to the Archdiocese of Jaro which later released an advisory on the alleged fake priest.

‘Maybe we should be wary because we have the tendency to be respectful of persons who claim to be priests. A little caution won’t harm,” Trompeta said.

But city police releases him

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

A SUSPECTED car robber surrendered to the Iloilo City Proper police station after he was tagged in Bukas Kotse incident last Tuesday morning.

Francisco Tamayo of Brgy. Monica, Iloilo City Proper is one of the two suspects who allegedly smashed open the Isuzu Crosswind of Wilfredo Lim at Burgos Street in the City Proper district near the Social Security System office.

Lim lost more or less P100,000 worth of gift checks and P25,000 cash.

Chief Insp. Conrado Carganillo, Iloilo City Proper police chief, said Punong Barangay Lilliane Sorioso of Monica convinced Tamayo to surrender after a witness identified him as a suspect in the incident.

According to Carganillo, Tamayo was the person who asked helped from two charcoal haulers who were near the crime scene to push his stalled car near Plaza Libertad.

“Tamayo allegedly drew the haulers’ attention to Plaza Libertad so his cohort can break open Lim’s car and steal the bag containing the gift checks and cash. When his companion was finished with the heist, Tamayo told the haulers that his car was okay then picked up the other suspect,” Carganillo said in a press conference at the Iloilo City Hall.

Carganillos said Tamayo denied the allegations against him and has refused to speak to investigators.

Tamayo was released after questioning by authorities as he cannot be arrested under the “hot pursuit” rule as the incident happened two days ago.

The police also convinced the two charcoal haulers, who remain unidentified, to testify against Tamayo but they refused to cooperate.

SYNDICATE

Supt. Eugenio Espejo, Iloilo City Police Office OIC-director, said the car robbers who struck last Monday and Tuesday are “new faces.”

“We don’t have their photographs in our rogues’ gallery and they speak Tagalog, Waray and Cebuano which mean they are not from Iloilo,” Espejo said.

Three car heists happened around Iloilo City since Monday.

The first incident happened Monday evening outside a restaurant owned by the family of Mayor Jerry Treñas. Journalist Florence Hibionada and lawyer Joviel Edama lost two laptop computers and more or less P5,000 cash.

The second incident involved Lim’s car near SSS office.

The third incident happened outside a grocery store in Brgy. Quintin Salas, Jaro where businessman Margarito Parcon of Pototan lost P610,000 cash and a caliber .45 pistol with three magazines.

Espejo said the suspects may have passed by Iloilo to test their modus operandi and raise funds for their operations in Bacolod City which is celebrating the Masskara Festival.

Citing their previous investigations, Espejo said the Bukas Kotse syndicate operates in 10 teams composed of 2-3 persons per team.

Espejo said the suspects use three cars as surveillance, cover and getaway vehicles.

“We tried to trace the registration plates of the cars allegedly used by the syndicate but we encountered dead ends,” he added.

Espejo said they have information on the leader or leaders of the gang but he refused to give details for the meantime.

Acting Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog assured that the police are doing their job in tracking down the suspects who are tagged to 28 car robberies since February 2009.

Mabilog said the Bukas Kotse operation is not exclusive to Iloilo City “as it also happens in Bacolod, Cebu, Metro Manila and even other parts of the world.”

“These crimes could be happening because the city is developing. As we develop, we encounter many crimes that go along with progress. But the city government, the police and other law enforcement agencies are working together to solve this problem,” he added.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

BEWARE of persons who pretend as priests knocking on your doors to solicit money in exchange for blessings from a holy image.

Worse, some of these false priests ask money in exchange for prayers for the dead.

The Archdiocese of Jaro warned the public not to fall victim to persons who pass themselves as priests and seminarians.

In a statement emailed to The Daily Guardian, the Commission on Social Communications of the Archdiocese said these fake priests and seminarians go around offices and homes and deceive people to give them money.

Local Catholic authorities issued the warning following reports that a man presenting himself as a Franciscan priest is going around government offices bringing the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

The suspect claims the image came from Barcelona, Spain and solicits funds and donations for the prayers for the dead.

“The Commission on Social Communications of the Archdiocese of Jaro is warning the clergy, religious women, and heads of Catholic schools and other institutions as well as the public of fake priests and seminarian performing Roman Catholic rituals and obtaining funds,” the statement said.

To avoid being duped by these fakes, the Archdiocese advised the public to demand for a celebret from a person who presents himself from another place or diocese. A celebret is a letter that a bishop gives to a priest to certify that the priest is allowed to say mass and is free from canonical censures.

“The Catholic priests of the Archdiocese of Jaro and the seminarians do not go around offices to solicit funds,” the statement said.

The Archdiocese also advised the public to verify the identities of persons who claim to be priests with the Chancery Office at (+63 33) 3294442.

Identities of persons who claim to be seminarians can be verified with the St. Joseph Regional Seminary at (+ 63 33) 320 0010 and St. Vincent Ferrer Seminary at (+63 33) 3294734.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

IS Chief Insp. Musa Amiyong on his way back to Western Visayas?

This question percolated in the media when a PNP special order surfaced yesterday directing the reassignment of Amiyong, former Iloilo City police intelligence czar, to Region 6.

The supposed special order issued this month was signed by police Director Abner Cabalquinto, head of the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management.

The special order suspended the assignment of Amiyong to the Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit (PHAU) in Camp Crame.

From Camp Crame, Amiyong was detailed to the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) in Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City.

Amiyong was relieved from the Iloilo City Police Office as intelligence section chief effective July 27, 2009 through Special Order No. 2384. He was then ordered to report to PHAU.

PRO-6 Director Isagani Cuevas has yet to confirm or deny Amiyong’s reassignment to Western Visayas.

Amiyong was transferred from Iloilo City upon recommendation of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) headed by Police Director Raul Bacalzo.

Reports from the police community said Amiyong was tagged in the death of PO1 Frederick Capasao, a former member of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, in 2007.

Amiyong was also dragged in the alleged pilferage of fuel used by contractors of the Iloilo Flood Control Project. He was also accused of shooting two youngsters in General Luna Street, Iloilo City last August 13, 2008.

Amiyong had denied all the charges against him.

Sources from the Iloilo City Hall and PRO-6 said a powerful politician moved for Amiyong’s return to Region 6 by threatening to hold the PNP budget next year.

Amiyong has been linked to the group of Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Raul Gonzalez Sr.

But Gonzalez said Amiyong only provided security assessments and recommendations.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

OFFICIALS in the executive department of the Iloilo provincial government are staring at possible malversation charges for allegedly using funds of the Provincial Population Office (PPO) to house and feed members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

Vice Governor Rolex T. Suplico said the use of the PPO’s budget for the accommodation of the PSG is illegal as it violates the 2009 provincial budget.

A total of P110,250 was taken from the PPO’s budget for extraordinary expenses or the so-called “other monthly operating and other expenses (MOOE)” to pay for the hotel accommodations and meals of PSG members.

The PSG members escorted President Gloria Arroyo when she visited Iloilo on September 24 and 25. 

Suplico said the Office of the Governor should have submitted to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan a request to realign the PPO’s budget for the PSG accommodation.

“The 2009 budget is embodied in an appropriation ordinance which is a law approved by the Sanggunian. Thus, it is only the Sanggunian that approves or disapproves any realignment in the appropriation ordinance,” he said.  

Suplico said the persons responsible for the release of the money can be charged with technical malversation.

The vice governor also questioned the bidding process for the PSG expenses.

“What about the bidding? Is there a calamity that will warrant the release of the funds sans any competitive process?” Suplico said.

According to Iloilo provincial administrator Manuel Mejorada, the meals for the PSG members were supplied by Hannah Puda of the Teds chain of fastfood restaurants, which operates the Capitol cafeteria.

Earlier, it was reported that the PPO budget was used to pay for lunch served during the visit of Senators Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.

There were also reports that the PPO’s budget for the holding of the Barangay Service Point Officers congress was used to feed the Aquino-Roxas contingent.

But Mejorada clarified the report saying that the PPO only shouldered the PSG’s accommodations.

“As a matter of practice, the host local government underwrites the cost of meals and even hotel accommodations for the officers of the PSG. The period covers at least one day before the event and one day after. In this case, the PSG main group was stranded in Iloilo for three days because of Typhoon Ondoy,” he said.

But why did the PPO shoulder the PSG’s hotel and food expenses?

Mejorada blamed the opposition-laden Sangguniang Panlalawigan for slashing the budget allocated by the Office of the Governor to cover such expenses.

“The catering for the PSG underwent the regular procurement process more than a week before we even knew about the visit of Senators Aquino and Roxas,” he added.

Mejorada said Governor Niel Tupas Sr. and Mayor Raul Tupas shouldered the lunch served for the Aquino-Roxas sortie.

Defensor says fund for infrastructures damaged by Typhoon Frank

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

PANAY Island will get a least P2 billion from the supplemental budget passed by Congress to rehabilitate areas devastated by three typhoons.

House Majority Floor Leader Arthur D. Defensor Sr. said part of the P12-billion supplemental budget will go to repair and replacement of infrastructures in Panay that were damaged by Typhoon Frank last year.

Defensor said he will push for the increase of the allocation for Panay from P2 billion to P3 billion.

“P2 billion is not enough to repair and replace infrastructures that were destroyed at the height of typhoon Frank. I will push for additional funds under the supplemental budget,” Defensor said.

Defensor said the National Disaster Coordinating Council will set the guidelines for the disbursement of the supplemental budget.

“But the local disaster coordinating councils will submit their respective reports and request for funding of priority projects,” he added.

Defensor earlier threatened to block the passage of the supplemental budget in the House of Representatives if Panay was excluded from the allocation.

The House has approved the Paglaum Fund for the post-Typhoon Frank rehabilitation efforts. But the revenue source of the fund – the Simplified Net Income Taxation Scheme – is still pending in the Senate.  

Both the House and Senate passed the supplemental budget by approving a joint resolution authorizing the executive department to spend P12 billion for immediate relief of the victims of Typhoons Frank, Ondoy and Pepeng.

The additional allocation will be drawn from the “unprogrammed funds” in the 2009 budget, particularly the proceeds of the national government share in the Malampaya natural gas extraction.

The government’s share from the Malampaya operations is around P14 billion.

The supplemental budget is on top of the P5 billion in donations and grants from foreign governments.

Government financial institutions – GSIS, SSS and Pag-IBIG – set aside a total of P11 billion in lending facility to their respective members.

Police probes 3 separate car theft cases

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

AFTER more than a month of hiatus, the notorious Bukas Kotse gang struck again the past two days and victimized a lawyer, a journalist and two businessmen.

In less than 24 hours, the car thieves hauled a total of P640,000 cash, P100,000 worth of gift checks and undetermined amount of laptops and personal items.

The first car theft happened around 10pm Monday evening in front of a restaurant owned by the family of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas.

Atty. Joviel Edama, newshen Florence Hibionada, broadcaster Jun Capulot and Nereo Lujan and Mercedes Tabano were having dinner at Carlos Bakeshop in Brgy. Dungon A, Jaro, right beside the house of Treñas.

Edama parked his silver Isuzu APV in front of the restaurant and left their personal items in the van.

When the group returned to the parking area, Edama discovered that the right glass window of the van was already broken.

The suspects carted away two laptops owned by Edama and Hibionada and two bags with more or less P5,000 cash inside.

According initial police investigation, the lone security guard saw two men lurking in the parking area minutes before the theft was discovered.

The guard said one of the men even asked him to buy bottled water inside the restaurant. But the men disappeared when the guard returned with the bottled water. Apparently, the men diverted the guard’s attention from the parking.

Waiters inside the restaurant said they saw another man making a call in his cellphone. But the man quickly went out of the restaurant along with two persons who boarded an unidentified vehicle.

Hibionada told Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo that she also noticed the man on the cellphone but she did not suspect as she was busy with their discussion aside from being tired.

The bags containing documents and computer software installers were recovered behind a grocery store in Brgy. Tabuc Suba, Jaro around 11pm.

The second incident happened 10am Tuesday at Burgos Street, Iloilo City Proper near the Social Security System (SSS)-Iloilo office.

Wilfredo Lim, 61, of Alta Tierra Village, Jaro parked his gray Isuzu Crosswind near SSS.

When Lim returned, his car’s glass window was already smashed. The suspects carted away P100,000 worth of gift checks and P25,000 cash.

Witnesses said they saw a car with three persons parked beside Lim’s vehicle before the theft was discovered.

The person driving the car asked help from bystanders to push the car because its engine stalled.

The Iloilo City Proper police station said the car may have served as distraction or cover while one of the suspects smashed Lim’s vehicle.

At around 2pm Tuesday, businessman Margarito Parcon of Brgy. Rumbang, Pototan discovered that the left glass window of his Nissan Frontier Navarra was already smashed to bits.

Parcon parked his vehicle outside SM Savemore in Brgy. Quintin, Salas, Jaro to buy some items inside the store.

When he returned 10 minutes later, Parcon discovered that his clutch bag containing P610,000 cash and a caliber .45 pistol with three magazines was already gone.

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director, ordered the Iloilo City Police Office to beef up its efforts in neutralizing the Bukas Kotse gang.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

ONE of the suspects in the robbery and killing of a foundation official inside an Iloilo City hotel was arrested Monday evening.

Members of the PNP Regional Intelligence Division arrested Chris Alden Tabaosares at Remonville Subdivision in Brgy. Tabuc Suba, Jaro.

Tabaosares was arrested on the strength of a warrant of arrest issued by Regional Trial Court Judge Guiljie Delfin-Lim.

Tabaosares was charged with robbery with homicide for the death of Epi Ramos, chief executive officer of Field Epidemiology Training Program Alumni Foundation Inc.

Ramos, a native of Cabatuan, Iloilo, was found dead inside Room 404 of Centennial Eon Plaza Hotel on Jalandoni Street, Iloilo City proper last January 27. He succumbed to 26 stab wounds, according to the autopsy report.

The victim’s two laptop computers, two cellphones and undetermined amount of cash were missing from his room.

Aside from Tabaosares, Jude Velado of Brgy. Sto. Rosario-Duran, Iloilo City Proper was also charged for Ramos’ death.

Tabaosares and Velado were the last persons who visited Ramos in the evening of January 26.

An unidentified witness claimed hearing the suspect’s plan to rob Ramos inside the hotel.

Tabaosares reportedly fled to Negros Occidental when he learned that the case was filed against him.

Intelligence officers let Tabaosares’s trail go cold as they believe he will eventually return to Iloilo.

Tabaosares was later spotted at Remonville.

Tabaosares is now detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Jaro district.

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