CEBU CITY, Philippines – The police arrested on Thursday morning the alleged mastermind of a botched robbery inside an uptown mall here in September 2011.
Junjun Cabando, alias Dionisio Cabatingan, was collared about 8:30 a.m. at the house of a relative in Sindangan town, Zamboanga del Norte, by a joint team of intelligence operatives from both Central Visayas and Western Mindanao.
Superintendent Paul Labra II, Regional Intelligence Division deputy chief for Central Visayas, said Cabando was staying with his relatives in Sindangan town in Zamboanga Del Norte, despite having a house in the adjacent town of Siayan.
Cabando has pending arrest warrant for robbery with double homicide, frustrated homicide and physical injuries issued by the Regional Trial Court Judge Wilfredo Navarro in connection with his involvement in the robbery inside Robinson’s Place.
The court did not recommend any bail for his temporary liberty.
Cabando was reportedly the mastermind of the group who staged a daring daylight robbery of a bank teller of Chinabank, who was about to deliver P1.2 million in cash to a money changer outlet inside Robinson’s Place on Sept. 5, 2011.
Three of Cabando’s cohorts – Mario Dapitan, Melecio Quiapo and Antonio Adelan – were killed in a shootout with the police.
Two bank security guards – Leofer Etac and Lito Odac — were shot and killed by the robbers while the bank teller, Lewen Surig, was wounded after he was shot in the leg.
Two Cebu City policemen, who were on their way to the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office at the Provincial Capitol compound, noticed the commotion near the mall.
Police Officer 2 Elrich Catacutan and PO2 Roy Ceniza of the Mobile Patrol Group pursued the robbers. They were later wounded in a shootout with the suspects.
The police found a brown bag containing P1.2 million beside the body of Quiapo on Ranudo Street, about 100 meters from the mall.
Cabando was hit in the buttocks but managed to evade arrest. He was able to leave Cebu and stayed with relatives in Iligan.
Labra said they learned about the whereabouts of Cabando from the information relayed to the intelligence operatives in Western Mindanao.
Chief Inspector Bonifacio Garciano, head of the regional police Investigation and Detective Management Branch (IDMB), said Cabando’s live-in partner was also held by the police in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental. Garciano, however, did not name the woman.
He said they still had to verify if the woman had a pending warrant of arrest.
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