LEGAZPI CITY, July 17 (PNA) -- Policemen arrested on Friday afternoon one of the two suspects involved in the robbery of PHP3.4 million cash intended for around 1,300 beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in Rapu-Rapu, Albay in January.
Senior Insp. Arnel Bellen, chief of Rapu-Rapu Municipal Police Office, said police collared Henry Bibat, 44, inside his house in Barangay Carcaran, Rapu-Rapu at 1:30 p.m.
Bellen said the policemen served a warrant of arrest issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 4 Judge Edgar Armes to Bibat after witnesses and other pieces of evidence pointed to a possible “inside job” by Bibat and his uncle Eddie Bibat in the close-to-midnight heist on Jan. 26.
Eddie, a village councilman who owns the boarding house rented by two employees preparing the cash envelopes for the 4Ps beneficiaries, however remains at large.
Investigation showed the two employees were held up, tied and gagged by two bonnet-wearing men armed with bladed weapons.
Bellen said the two suspects went missing and could not be located after the robbery incident although witnesses said the two were visible around the neighborhood prior to the incident.
Bellen said the two victims, identified as Allan Competente and Rechilda Batang, had earlier distributed PHP4.6 million cash assistance to 1,466 4Ps beneficiaries in the poblacion of Rapu-Rapu.
The two sailed to Barangay Villahermosa in Batan Island to distribute the next tranche of PHP3.4 cash assistance for 1,350 beneficiaries when they were waylaid.
Bellen added the suspects staged the robbery at a time when power on the island was turned off. The island-town’s power needs was provided by a generating set that was turned off from 10:00 p.m. - 6:00 a.m. the following day, he said.
Barangay Villahermosa in Batan Island is a two-hour boat ride away from the poblacion of Rapu-Rapu which is four to five hours of boat ride to this city.
The victims were employees of Saint Anthony Development Cooperative, a sub-conduit of the National Confederation of Cooperatives, an authorized conduit of the Land Bank of the Philippines, which is the depository bank of funds for the government’s 4Ps or poverty alleviation program. (PNA) BNB/GVR/MSA/CBD