Cop accused of masterminding P2.4M hijackBy Jaymee T. Gamil
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Someone tasked to prevent crimes turned out to be someone who organized one.
That is, if one were to believe the statements of arrested hijackers Nico Manlapaz, 19, Alfredo Dimapilis, 42, Elias Villamer, 45, and Rodrigo Peralta, 34, all from Sampaloc district, Manila.
The four pointed to fellow arrested suspect, PO1 Sherwin Casauran, 33, also of Sampaloc, as having “ordered” them to conspire in the Jan. 28 hijack of a delivery van carrying P2.4 million worth of Unilever products in Balintawak, Quezon City.
Casauran is assigned to the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit of the National Capital Region Police Office.
At around 5 a.m. on that day, a uniformed policeman flagged down the Real Time Movers and Logistics Inc. truck along EDSA in the guise of a traffic violation.
When truck driver Federico Soriano and his helper stepped out, the hijackers took over the vehicle and brought the two to a black car where they were hogtied and blindfolded. The victims were dumped in Rizal province, where they reported the crime to the police.
Within the day of the crime, all the hijackers were arrested in follow-up operations conducted by the Manila Police District Sampaloc station. Police found the hijacked truck in Sampaloc via the GPS (Global Positioning System) tracker installed on it.
Only an hour after the pre-dawn hijack, Manlapaz, Dimapilis and Villamer were caught red-handed transferring the stolen goods to another truck.
Peralta, meanwhile, fell to lawmen’s hands after an informant tipped police on his suspected involvement. Peralta, in turn, told police it was Casauran who hired him to drive the hijacked truck.
Aside from the victims positively identifying the five suspects, Casauran’s involvement was sealed when Soriano’s IDs were found in his black car a day after the crime.
All five were presented to the media by Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim at the city hall on Tuesday morning.
Much of the flak landed on Casauran, who aside from supposedly being a law enforcer, was consistently tagged by his cohorts as having hired them. Casauran, during the press conference, chose to remain quiet.
Lim said he had recommended the summary dismissal of the rookie policeman. The mayor castigated Casauran for abusing his uniform as a “shield” to commit crimes.
Lim also appealed to other hijacking victims to check if the arrested group was the same group who preyed on them. “You may know them. Please approach us so we can look into your case and we can add to the charges against this policeman,” Lim said in Filipino.
Casauran and Peralta are facing charges of carnapping and robbery, while Manlapaz, Dimapilis and Villamer are facing charges of possession of stolen property, at the Manila Regional Trial Courts.
Tags: accused hijackers , Alfredo Dimapilis , crime suspects , Elias Villamer , Hijacking , Nico Manlapaz , PO1 Sherwin Casauran , Real Time Movers and Logistics Inc. , Rodrigo Peralta , rouge policemen , Unilever products