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NBI asked to probe P3M Negros power coop robbery

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DUMAGUETE CITY — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) might probe the reported robbery at the main office of the Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative I (NORECO I) in Tinaogan, Bindoy, Negros Oriental over the weekend, where almost PHP3 million in cash was carted away.

NORECO general manager Jose Juvileo D. Acabal said he had requested the NBI to investigate the crime.

Initial police reports showed that three unidentified suspects climbed the back-perimeter fence unnoticed and subsequently pointed their guns at the security guard, Arnel Calda, and disarmed him of his service calibre-38 revolver.

Accounts of the security guard have it that the suspects, armed with a Cal. 45 handgun, an M16 rifle, and another automatic firearm, possibly Ingram or Uzi, tied his hands on his back, then entered the main door by destroying the padlock at about 2 a.m. on Sunday (Dec. 9). The guard said the suspects tried to open the office vault with a crowbar.

However, in a phone interview, Acabal said the suspects had carted away P2.6 million in cash, which was the office’s collection in about the past two days, Friday and Saturday, supposedly to be remitted on Monday.

To allay fears of an inside job, Acabal is willing to be investigated along with the rest of the NORECO I officers and employees, who might have access to the vault.

The electric cooperative has CCTV cameras, but it was so dark outside and that the suspects, described as slim and small-built, were wearing bonnets and sweatshirts.

The guard further claimed that the trio divested his personal belongings, cellphone, driver’s license, company ID, SSS ID, EHF radio, and cash worth P2,000.

Meanwhile, at almost the same time and date, another robbery took place in Barangay Calasgaan along the national highway in Bais City, victimizing D.C. Cruz Trading Corp., owned by Ruby Tania Cruz, who hails from Bacolod, Negros Occidental.

At around 2:12 a.m. also on Sunday, the guard reported that three unidentified suspects also robbed their office of P56,117.

The guard, Redford Tulabing of Sta. Cruz Viejo, Tanjay City, said he was awakened by a noise from the adjacent building, and when he checked the premises, he discovered that the metal perimeter fence of the building he was guarding was already destroyed.

Once inside, the suspects allegedly destroyed the window grills of the owner’s office and divested all the monies inside the drawer, including the personal money of an employee worth P2,000.

The cops are also looking into similarities of the two robberies. Both have three unidentified suspects and were staged at almost the same hour, 2 a.m. and 2:12 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2018. (PNA)