PNP: SM guards committed lapses; 2 of 4 agencies fined

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With their heads bowed, members of the SM security force stand in formation outside the SM North Edsa mall before their meeting with Quezon City Police District officials regarding the need for tighter measures following the Jan. 26 jewelry store robbery at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Security guards at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City committed “lapses” that allowed robbers to sneak in and pull off a brazen jewelry store heist in the crowded mall Saturday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) official in charge of security agencies said Tuesday.

Chief Supt. Tomas Rentoy III, head of the PNP Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (Sosia), also said two of the four security agencies that manned the mall would be fined P10,000 to P20,000 for failing to submit their report on the incident and for not attending Tuesday’s investigation.

Rentoy identified the security agencies facing sanctions as Starforce and Link Security Services. The PNP-Sosia gave the security firms up to 5 p.m. on Monday to submit their reports.

“They are late in submitting their reports. Based on our SOP (standard operating procedures), if there was a major incident, they should immediately submit a report,” he said.

Because of the “willful violation” of the PNP’s instructions, the two security firms may also be suspended for a maximum of 30 days, Rentoy added.

The two other security firms, Blue Dragon and Lambdan Security, attended Tuesday’s investigation and submitted their report.

An investigation showed that at least 200 pieces of jewelry were taken by a band of six men who entered the mall just before 7 p.m. Saturday through the supermarket.

One of them was caught on security cameras carrying a .45-cal. pistol while two others were seen carrying pipe wrenches, which they used to smash the jewelry display cases open on the ground floor of the mall’s department store. The other members of the group served as lookouts, police said.

Rentoy on Monday said Blue Dragon and Lambdan guards and officers had given their statements for the police to determine the lapses committed and “what sanctions to impose on the security agency.”

THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT Quezon City police chief Director Richard Albano demonstrates how bags should be checked at SM North Edsa mall. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

“There were really lapses,” he said. “First was how the (robbers) managed to enter with a gun and it was not detected even if it already bulged in front. We are requiring them (security firms) to use metal detectors and frisk mall goers.”

Rentoy said the PNP-Sosia investigation would find out, among others, if the guards immediately called for police assistance, as this is another SOP when armed robberies take place.

The probe would also check why the security guards were unarmed, as it was possible that their agencies were still in the process of applying for exemption from the election gun ban, he added.

SM management said it is “cooperating with the PNP to ensure that the perpetrators of the robbery are arrested at the soonest time possible.”

“We appeal for public cooperation as we continue to enforce our strict security standard operating procedures that include scanning through handheld metal detectors and physical inspection,” the retail giant added in a statement issued by spokesman Ian Mathay.

“We assure the public, including SM employees and tenants, that management invests in security prevention assets and policies including training, security devices and security personnel. SM Megamall management shall ensure that all security personnel shall constantly perform their duties diligently to ensure safety and security at all times,” it said.

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Tags: Crime , Mandaluyong , Philippines - Metro , robbery , Security , SM guards , SM Megamall

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