Cebu News

Robbery of Chinese tourists: Van driver, brother arrested

Ni Bryner L. Diaz - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – The police arrested yesterday two persons, including the driver of the van used boarded by four Chinese nationals who were robbed in broad daylight Saturday in Barangay Curva, Medellin town, Cebu.

Jerome Enriquez, the driver of the van, executed an extra-judicial confession stating that his brother, Jelson, was the mastermind of the robbery and that he was also part of the crime.

Jelson was arrested in a hot pursuit operation Tuesday afternoon.

On Saturday morning, Jerome fetched four Chinese tourists from the airport and was transporting them to Daanbantayan when the van was blocked by two armed persons on board a motorcycle in Curva, Medellin.

The back rider alighted from the motorcycle, boarded the van and took the electronic gadgets and money of the foreigners before they sped away.

Superintendent Rodolfo Albotra, chief of the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Cebu Police Provincial Office, said after their initial interview with Jerome, he suspected that the driver was somehow involved in the crime.

“Ikaw kung alihan ka og nagmotor mohunong diay dayon ka? Ang instinct sa tawo modagan g’yud ka, imong ligsan ang motor,” Albotra said.

PIB investigators further spoke with the driver and noticed inconsistencies in his statements and later found out that he did not fully declare his contact number to Medellin police.

Because of the inconsistencies, Albotra told his men to conduct a background check on the driver.

In the course of their background investigation, they discovered that Jerome’s brother was involved in robbery incidents in the past and was charged with possession of unlicensed firearms two years ago.

After several rounds of talks, Jerome finally confessed to the police in the presence of lawyer Glenn Jumaos that he was part of the robbery and that his brother was the mastermind.

PIB operatives, who were already in the hometown of the Enriquez in Poblacion, Carmen, immediately searched for Jelson.

The police found Jelson in his friend’s house and asked him to surrender peacefully.

After his arrest, the police searched his belongings and confiscated a caliber 9mm pistol loaded with seven live ammos and a cal. 45 pistol with two magazines loaded with four live ammos.

Also confiscated were two wigs, two bonnets, two full-face motorcycle helmets, a gun holster and a mobile phone from Jelson’s possession.

Jelson admitted to the media that the guns were for his own protection. He said that he is a member of a motorcycle rider organization and there are people who are jealous at them.

He also explained that the wigs are props because he is a member of a dance crew.  But when asked why his brother pointed him as the mastermind, he said he is clueless.

“Wa ko kahibawo sir, ambot lang,” Jelson told reporters.   With the arrest of the siblings, Albotra said they consider the case as solved, although they are looking for one more suspect who was present during the robbery, a certain “Roger.”

Meanwhile, Medellin Mayor Ricardo Ramirez is warning robbers who take shelter in the town’s isolated areas to think twice before carrying out their illegal activities.

“Panawagan sa mga tulisan nga naghupo-hupo ug dunay mga plano nga manulis, ayaw ninyo buhata intawn diri sa amoang lungsod ang inyo’ng dautan plano kay kamo rasad unya mao’y magmahay. Ayaw mo pagsalig nga amo’ng mga highway daghang lugar nga mingaw ug awa-aw,” Ramirez said in his Facebook account.

Ramirez reminded that the town’s policemen are all young and energetic.

“Pero og gahi gyud mo’g ulo unya di mo mopatuo, aw Rock and Roll to Jail mo,” he said, adding that they will become neighbors since the district jail facility of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology is located just across his residence.

Further, Ramirez, in a phone interview, asked resort owners to thoroughly scrutinize those applying for them before hiring them.

He suggested that establishments conduct background investigation and not to rely merely on documents, considering that the job involves trust and confidence.

Ramirez said the recent robbery incident should serve as wake up call for the resorts, especially those accommodating foreign tourists.  He added that resort owners should also consider hiring local employees for an easy background investigation.

“Ug dili gud masusi pag-ayo kay tungod layo kaayo ang iyang dapit, kuyaw unya’g yabagon og utok nang maong tawhana,” he said.

He further commended the police for swift resolution of the incident.

“It is sad nga diri nahitabo sa Medellin. But I congratulate the police for their achievement,” he said

Fourth district Representative Benhur Salimbangon has also commended the police officers for the early solution of what he called a daring robbery which occurred in broad day light.

“This immediate action by our men in uniform will boost the confidence of our people in the PNP organization and will send a strong signal to the criminals that nobody is above the law, that truly PNP is here to serve and protect the people. My warmest congratulations to all of you!” Salimbangon said. —Gregg M. Rubio and Michael Vencynth H. Braga/ATO (FREEMAN)

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