GenSan robbery suspect shot dead after posting bail

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 Feb) – Unidentified gunmen shot dead Thursday afternoon a suspect in the robbery of a pharmacy here last month less than an hour after being released on bail.

Sr. Insp. Lemuel Enrijo, acting chief of police station number 04 here, said Friday victim Kimbo Sagalto, 33, was aboard a taxi en route to the city airport along with his wife and lawyer when he was shot by a motorcycle-riding gunman at a portion of the Hangar Road in Barangay Mabuhay around 4:30 p.m.

He said the victim, who hails from Baguio City, was initially released from detention at the Lagao police station around 3:45 p.m. after his wife and lawyer posted his bail for robbery with force charges.

The group hired a taxi to catch the last flight of the Cebu Pacific to Manila and agreed to pass by the Hangar Road after being told by the driver that it was the fastest and shortest route to the city airport, Enrijo said.

But upon reaching a portion of Barangay Mabuhay, Enrijo said a car and a motorcycle with two men on board suddenly blocked the taxi’s path.

The official said one of the motorcycle riders then approached the vehicle, opened the back side door and shot Sagalto three times.

“[The gunman] told the [taxi] driver to duck and then shot the victim,” Enrijo told reporters.

The taxi driver, Sagalto’s wife, and the lawyer, whose names were withheld for security reasons, were left unharmed.

Sagalto did not make it to the hospital alive due to gunshot wounds on the head and body.

Enrijo said they are looking into several angles as possible motive of the incident, which was the sixth gun-related killing in the city this year.

The victim’s wife told police investigators that her husband had received threats on his life and was threatened that “he will not leave GenSan alive.”

Sagalto was arrested by elements from the Lagao police station around 1:30 a.m. last Jan. 22 while reportedly trying to rob a branch of the Mercury Drug along Jose Catolico Avenue.

But his alleged cohort identified as Leo Pungas managed to escape.

The victim initially identified himself as Jack Galbey of Quezon City and arrived in the city a week before the botched robbery.

He pointed to Pungas as the mastermind and claimed that he was just forced to join the latter as his wife was set to undergo an unspecified operation.

His real name, Kimbo Sagalto, only came out after his wife and lawyer posted his bail on Thursday.

Police records showed that Sagalto, who was also listed as a resident of Sitio Stonehill, Balili, La Trinidad in Benguet, was arrested in August last year in connection with the robbery of an HL Henry Lhuillier Pawnshop branch in Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur in November 2016.

The suspects, who were tagged as members of the Acetylene Gang, carted away P1.5 million worth of assorted jewelries and cash from the pawnshop by entering through a nearby drainage canal and using acetylene torch to break into the vault.

Sagalto was released after posting bail before the Municipal Trial Court for Sta. Cruz-Sta Lucia in Ilocos Sur. (MindaNews)