Headlines Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Headlines ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

'Flores gang men not smart enough'

MANILA, Philippines - They were daring robbers but it turned out that they were not smart enough.

This was how lawyer Ruel Lasala, deputy director for intelligence services of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), described the notorious Alvin Flores gang members who robbed a watch store in Greenbelt 5 in Makati City last Oct. 18.

In an interview, Lasala said these robbers had so much guts to enter a secured area like Greenbelt 5.

“They had guts but when it came to fighting they did poorly,” Lasala said in Filipino.

Lasala believes they are the type of gang members who are certain to die in a shootout with authorities because they are not smart.

He said members of the gang, tagged in 26 robberies nationwide in 2008 alone, were in high spirits after the Greenbelt 5 heist.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

They believed that they would again be able to get away with their next caper by merely running to their safehouses, Lasala said.

“But as I said, they were not that smart enough. Our law enforcers are much, much smarter than them,” he said.

Lasala also stressed that the gang leader slain in an encounter in Compostela, Cebu, was indeed Alvin Flores.

“We are 100 percent sure that he was the Alvin Flores of the ‘Alvin Flores gang’ whom we were looking for,” Lasala said.

He said they have file photos of him as well as videotapes taken during previous robberies perpetrated by his group.

While Flores underwent plastic surgery, Lasala said the NBI did not have any difficulty establishing his identity.

“The plastic surgery did not change his image that much. We easily identified him,” said Lasala.

Dr. Dominador Pedracio, the surgeon who did the plastic surgery on Flores, showed up at the NBI headquarters in Manila last Friday and insisted he did not know that one of his patients was the Alvin Flores being hunted by authorities.

Pedracio recalled that Flores identified himself as John Carlo Cruz Chavez and told him he wanted to have a feminine look.

Lasala had cleared Pedracio of any liability.

Lasala also related that gang member Rene Batiencela, who has remained under NBI custody after being charged with robbery with homicide before the Makati prosecutor’s office last Tuesday, positively identified Alvin Flores.

Asked if Batiencela could be used as a state witness, Lasala said it would depend on the court.

Batiencela, a stevedore at the Navotas fish port before being recruited to the Alvin Flores gang, said he had been with the group for only five months and had participated in only three operations, including the one at Greenbelt 5.

He was also the one who told the NBI that they had picked on the wrong store during the Greenbelt heist. He said their target was the store selling Patek Philippe, a more expensive brand of Swiss watches.

Lasala said this was another proof that the robbers were indeed not smart.

Although the robbers were able to escape with the loot, Lasala said they brought with them only Tudor watches as the more expensive Rolex watches were stuffed inside the bag carried by the slain gang member.

The NBI operation was carried out following the daring Rolex store heist in Greenbelt 5.  

The NBI Task Force Against Armed Robbery Group traced the movement of the gang members from Antipolo to Bulacan, Pampanga, and eventually Mandaue City in Cebu.

This eventually paved the way for the operatives to zero in on the group’s hideout at Dodong’s Resort in Barangay Estaca, Compostela, Cebu on Oct. 29.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us:
Healines Skinning Right, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1