4 cops in P1.8 million Zamboanga City 'robbery' arrested

John Unson - Philstar.com
4 cops in P1.8 million Zamboanga City 'robbery' arrested
A police team found in a secluded area the two stolen safety vaults of trader Al-Ghabid Abdul, victim of a heist involving four police personnel.
Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY — Four policemen, one of them a lieutenant, were arrested in police operations in Zamboanga City during a police operation on Saturday. This came four days after their suspected involvement in a robbery where a local Tausug trader was reportedly stripped of P1.8 million in cash.

Police Lt. Ariel Jolatoria, Patrolman Rayan Apostol, Senior Master Sgt. Alnajer Ynawat and Staff Sgt. Edcel Nicolas were first reported by authorities in Zamboanga City to have intruded into the residence of a Tausug merchant, Al-Ghabid Abdul, in the guise of serving him a fake warrant of arrest for a criminal offense, divested him of mobile phones and took with them his two portable safety vaults as they escaped on Wednesday last week.

Jalatoria belongs to the Regional Support Unit-Police Regional Office-9, while Apostol is a member of the Zamboanga City Police Office 2nd Mobile Force Company. Ynawat is under the Zamboanga City Police Office Mobile Patrol Unit and the fourth suspect, Nicolas, is assigned at the Zamboanga City Police Station 7.

Officials of the Zamboanga City Police Office and PRO-9 confirmed to reporters on Sunday that the four policemen are now detained. They will be prosecuted for armed robbery.

Senior police officials and sources from the intelligence units of the military’s Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City on Sunday said that neighbors of Abdul were instrumental in identifying the four suspects.

They reportedly confirmed to investigators and agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-9 having seen the four suspects load the two safety vaults from the house of Abdul into a vehicle parked nearby that turned out to be one of the units owned by Ynawat, who has a rent-a-car business.

Efforts to locate Jalatoria, Apostol and Ynawat was hastened by the prior confession of Nicolas about his role in robbing Abdul of P1.8 million worth of cash.

Nicolas and other confidential informants even led a police team to the exact spot where they hid Abdul’s safety vaults that they destroyed to get the money inside.

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