ZAMBOANGA CITY – A businessman escaped unscathed in a botched robbery hold-up while the three suspects, including a soldier, were arrested in pursuit operations in Zamboanga Sibugay province, a top police official said Thursday.
Col. Albert Larubis, Zamboanga Sibugay police director, identified the victim in Wednesday afternoon’s robbery attempt in Barangay Mate, Titay town, as businessman Dande Calago.
Larubis identified the arrested suspects as Felix Salazar, 40, his younger brother, Jovanie, 37, and Joven Ocmer, 30, a member of the Army’s 42nd Infantry Battalion based in Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte.
Police investigation showed that before the incident, Calago was driving his pick-up type vehicle with Felix and Ocmer aboard on the way to Barangay Mate to inspect a parcel of land being sold to him by Jovanie, Larubis said.
Larubis said Felix and Ocmer at gunpoint declared the heist and tied the hands of Calago with masking tape.
However, the vehicle fell on its right side at the shoulder of the road as Calago resisted and stepped on the accelerator to speed up before the suspects managed to commandeer his pick-up truck.
Larubis said one of the two suspects shot but missed as Calago took the opportunity to escape through the shattered windshield and sought help in the village.
Felix and Ocmer carted away the cash and other valuables Calago left in his vehicle and fled to the bushes, where Felix allegedly called Jovanie to pick them up.
Jovanie was arrested around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday by responding policemen in Purok Santan, Barangay Mate, Titay, before he could pick up his elder brother, Felix, and Ocmer, on a motorcycle.
Larubis said Felix was arrested in pursuit operation around 5:10 also in Barangay Mate while Ocmer around 6 p.m. in Barangay Suclema, Ipil, the capital of Zamboanga Sibugay, based on revelations of Jovanie.
Recovered from Felix’s possession were a 9-mm pistol with ammunition, PHP20,000 cash, and other pieces of evidence, the police official said.
Ocmer, meanwhile, yielded a caliber .45 pistol with ammunition and a cellular phone.
Larubis said appropriate charges will be filed against the arrested suspects. Teofilo Garcia, Jr / PNA- northboundasia.com