2 more suspects in Koronadal pawnshop robbery nabbed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 August) — Joint police operatives arrested on Thursday two more suspects in the daring robbery-holdup of a pawnshop in Koronadal City in September last year that left two security guards dead.

Supt. Nestor Salcedo, Koronadal City police chief, said Friday suspects Balong Balayman and Ricky Abdul were nabbed in the outskirts of Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat at around 2:30 p.m. following a brief chase.

He said the operation was led by elements from the Sultan Kudarat Highway Patrol Group (HPG), and the Isulan and Koronadal City police stations.

“We have positive identification of these suspects based on the video footages and statements of the witnesses,” he said.

Salcedo was referring to the close-circuit television (CCTV) footages of the September 18, 2014 robbery of the Agencia Brillantes pawnshop along Osmena Street in Koronadal City.

Chief Insp. Arnold Carino, Sultan Kudarat HPG chief, said their operatives initially monitored the suspects emerging from a store in front of the Sultan Kudarat provincial capitol in Isulan town at past 2 p.m.

He said the suspects, who were listed as residents of Maguindanao province, then left the area using a black Honda Wave motorcycle without license plate.

The official said they immediately gave chase and tried to flag down the suspects but the latter resisted and tried to flee from the scene.

But he said responding personnel from the Isulan police station eventually cornered and arrested the suspects.

“They actually left their motorcycle and fled on foot. They also fired shots at our operatives but fortunately no one was hit,” he said.

Carino said they later recovered from Balayman a caliber .45 Colt pistol with six live ammunition.

Citing results of their investigation, Salcedo said Balayman was the person seen in the incident’s CCTV that broke the glass covering of the pawnshop’s displays using a monkey wrench.

He said Abdul did not figure in any of the footages as he supposedly acted as a lookout during the robbery.

“We’ve been monitoring and tracing the movements of these suspects in the past three months,” he said.

Two suspects in the incident were already arrested last year by police operatives in Cotabato City and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat.

Suspects Khadaffi Guiamelon, who was reportedly the gang leader, and alleged gunman Misuari Bansil are currently detained at the South Cotabato provincial jail and facing trial for robbery with homicide charges.

“Our intelligence operations are continuing and we’re hoping to also arrest soon the two remaining suspects,” Salcedo said.

The police official said they will immediate present the two suspects before the Regional Trial Court Branch 24 in Koronadal City on Friday to facilitate their transfer to the provincial jail.

He said they will also proceed to Isulan, Sultan Kudarat to file the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition charges against Balayman.

Meantime, Carino said they are also investigating the arrested suspects for possible involvement in a string of carnapping incidents in Region 12 and the neighboring areas.

He cited the recent theft of a van in front of a Jollibee outlet in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat, a taxi in Davao City and another van in Bansalan town in Davao del Sur.

“We’re currently checking the motorcycle as it is likely another stolen unit,” he added. (MindaNews)