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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Guard Killed, 2 Wounded, Rob Head Falls

A security guard was killed after a shootout against five heavily armed robbers, three of whom are now in police custody after they held up a vehicle of the Bank of Commerce shortly before 12 noon yesterday.

Hot pursuit of police operatives finally led to the capture of Casimiro "Meloy" Garcia, leader of the San Miguel robbery group tagged responsible in several high profile hold-ups here and in Cebu City.

Garcia was cornered by security men of Dumaluan Beach Resort in Panglao where he checked in with his girlfriend and another cohort a few hours after the bank heist.

Garcia's companion was identified as Gelvin Nuez y Reguya, 19, a resident of barangay Magsaysay, Talibon town.

The robbers carted away some P200,000 contained in one of the two bags picked up by three Bank of Commerce security personnel from Unitop Department Store for deposit.

The slain guard was identified as Remegio Cañizar, 38, of Pacific World Security Agency, and a resident of Habitat Village, this city.

One of the suspects, identified as Cresencio Reguya, 29, a resident of Magsaysay, Talibon town, was seriously wounded during the gunfight.

Two other wounded security men of the Bank of Commerce were identified as Mileton Lamoste, 30, single, resident of Mantacida, Catigbian town and one Tirso Fullido, 30, single, of Biking, Dauis town.

The three were rushed to the Gov. Celestino Galleres Regional Hospital right after the shootout.

Police said three security guards picked up the cash amounting to around P400,000 from Unitop past 11 a.m.

The suspects were already positioned at the Bank of Commerce premises when the Mitsubishi Adventure, carrying the cash, pulled over in front of the bank.

When Cañizar disembarked, two of the suspects reportedly gunned him down.

He was hit in the head and left shoulder causing his immediate death.

Amid the shootout, the suspects were able to snatch one of the bags that contained P200,000.

According to police, one of the bank security guards was able to take the other bag inside the bank.

The suspect, Reguya, allegedly a former CAFGU, was hit in the back with a shotgun round as he tried to flee together with his cohorts from the gunfight. He sustained seven wounds from that single shot.

As of presstime, Reguya is still fighting for his life after doctors performed surgery to remove slugs from his back at the Gallares Hospital.

Both Garcia and Nuez fled the scene and contracted a van-for-hire going to Panglao.

Within range of the single shotgun blast, Nuez also sustained shrapnel wounds in the right arm. Due to his bleeding arm, Nuez became the object of clandestine scrutiny by Dumaluan Beach Resort security personnel.

Garcia and his girlfriend reportedly asked the resort's reception if they could avail services of a doctor apparently to treat the bleeding Nuez.

While monitoring on the spot coverage of the holdup over station dyRD coupled by the unusual situation, the resort security immediately sought police assistance.

A joint police team of the Panglao PNP, City PNP and the Bohol Police Provincial Office responded to the call led by Insp. Alegado Quizon and Insp. Germano Mallari.

Even before the police team arrived at the resort, the security guards already collared the two suspects.

According to the resort security, Nuez attempted to draw his 9-mm handgun when the guards barged into the suspects' rented room. However, the guards held them down.

Recovered from Garcia and Nuez were one Ingram assault rifle with three fully loaded magazines, a fully loaded 9-mm handgun and P33,000 in cash.

Police brought the two suspects at the city police station last night for tactical interrogation.

They were positively identified by two witnesses brought by police during the interrogation.


Two guards of the bank who were injured in the shootout are being treated at the Gallares Hospital.

Lamoste was wounded on his left chest and arm while Fullido sustained a gunshot wound in his abdomen.

The Tagbilaran City PNP allegedly got the robbery alarm since Monday after a tip said they will strike here.


PNP provincial director SSupt. Edgardo Ingking said in an interview with the Chronicle yesterday that the suspects in custody have already provided them vital information regarding the whereabouts of their cohorts.

Two are still at large as of press time.

Police operatives are now in hot pursuit to capture the said suspects, according to Ingking.

However, the provincial police director said there are lapses on the part of the bank's security.

He said, bank security should use armored vans instead of an ordinary vehicle when they pick up huge amounts of cash.

Armored vans are considered an extension of the bank, Ingking said.

On the other hand, according to Ingking, the successful neutralization of one of the robbers is a big contribution on the part of the guards.

The vigilance of the bank security triggered the shootout and their neutralization of one suspect, he concluded.


Garcia and Nuez revealed during the tactical investigation last night that the two other suspects in the hold-up yesterday were Rodulfo "Dopong" Atega and Al Fuentes, residents of San Miguel town.

The two also revealed other members of their group.

Garcia named a certain Joseph Fuentes who did not participate in yesterday's heist.

Joseph Moraga was also identified by Garcia. Moraga is currently detained at Camp Dagohoy and facing charges of robbery and homicide.

Atega is the brother of former San Miguel robbery group member Harry Atega who was murdered in Cebu City last January, days after the hold-up of First Consolidated Bank Foundation employees here.


Garcia owned responsibility in other high-profile hold-up incidents here such as the broad daylight hits of a Unitop cashier which claimed the life of the escort security.

He also admitted that the FCB Foundation, Island City Mall and Petron hold-ups were also their group's job.


Radio listeners who were monitoring the up to the minute account of the robbery over dyRD were lauded as one listener provided a tip during the live broadcast that the fleeing suspects were spotted in a restaurant along lower B. Inting Street.

The tipster bared that one suspect was bleeding from the arm.

This report led to another tip from a listener who described the van-for-hire which the suspects boarded. The caller even gave the registration plates of the V-hire.

The security guard at Dumaluan Beach Resort is also credited for his vigilance in conducting surveillance on the suspects after he was alarmed by the live broadcast of dyRD on the robbery and the suspects still at large.

The dyRD-Chronicle news team provided on the spot coverage of the incident with the breaking news aired first thru the radio station by dyRD police beat reporter Willie Maestrado from the crime scene barely a few minutes when the robbery happened.

DyRD listeners were glued to the news account up to sign off time last night.

Source: The Bohol Chronicle

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