By LITO RULONA
CAMP Alagar has ordered the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (Cocpo) to place Wednesday’s robbery case on CM Recto Ave. in its priority list, and to exert its best effort to arrest suspects.
Northern Mindanao police director Chief Supt. Lyndel Desquitado issued the order even as investigators revealed that at least four of the robbers have been identified.
The daring broad daylight robbery was carried out a spitting distance from an unmanned police outpost near the Centrio and Gaisano malls on the busy CM Recto Ave. by some nine men who fled with some P400 thousand on three motorcycles.
The crime is widely perceived as an affront to law enforcement in this bustling city. Its successful staging has also raised serious questions on the effectiveness and capability of the local police to protect citizens in busy commercial centers even during daytime.
Desquitado ordered city police director Senior Supt. Faro Antonio Olaguera to ensure that the robbers are caught and brought to justice the soonest possible.
The Cocpo was directed to work at improving its intelligence network so as to track down the suspects.
“They should seriously work on this, and make some arrest,” Desquitado said.
The victim, whose identity is withheld due to security reasons, was in a car near a traffic light on CM Recto and Corrales avenues when armed robbers attacked and forcibly took her money.
Witnesses said it took less than a minute for the armed men to stage the robbery.
The victim earlier said said the robbery could have been foiled if only the police outpost was manned.
Camp Alagar officials said Olaguera would need to explain given that the entire region remained under a heightened alert status because of the election campaign.
Desquitado said police officers should have been on manning their post especially in areas that are seen as crime-prone and thickly populated.
Supt. Surki Sereñas, Camp Alagar spokesperson, said that of the nine suspects, at least four have already been identified.
Supt. Erwin Meneses, chief of the Intelligence Branch of Cocpo, is leading a “tracker team” against the robbery group.
Sereñas said Cocpo is also closely coordinating with the provincial police office “para sa dinalian nga kasulbaran sa maong kaso.”
The Wednesday heist, Sereñas said, is now considered as the biggest robbery case in the city and Region 10 so far this year.
Meanwhile, Cocpo has announced that anyone who could help the police in arresting suspects would be rewarded P10 thousand for every head.