Driver, passenger killed in van hold-up in Pikit

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/30 January) – Unidentified armed men pulled off a robbery hold-up along the highway in Pikit, North Cotabato, killing the driver and a passenger of a commercial van at around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, police said.

Sr. Insp. Elias Dandan, chief of Pikit police, identified the slain victims as Johnny Cadungog, van driver; and Romeo Benjumai, a passenger.

Dandan said the van was on its way to Midsayap town when one of the male passengers disembarked at an intersection along the highway in Pikit, a few meters from Fort Pikit where the municipal hall is located.  After the passenger got off the van, four unidentified armed men immediately boarded the vehicle and declared a hold-up.

Police said the armed men shot Cadungog in the head when he tried to speed up the van. They also shot Benjumai in the head when the latter refused to give the suspects his mobile phone.

After carting away at least P20,000 worth of cash and other personal belongings of the passengers, the robbers fled on foot toward a dark area of Barangay Fort Pikit, police said.

This was the second holdup incident in Pikit town this week.

On Friday, unidentified armed men shot dead the cashier of a pawnshop identified only by her surname,  Majanlangit, when she tried to wrestle with one of the suspects after they grabbed her phone and bag.

Dandan said they conducted pursuit operations against the robbery-holdup gangs that victimize passenger vans and buses plying the Pikit-Midsayap highway.

He said a team has been tasked to investigate the rash of robbery-holdup cases in his town. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)