Bank execs want higher bail for guard-turned-robber

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The arraignment of a security guard accused of robbing the bank he was supposed to be protecting was postponed Tuesday after his victims asked the court to raise or rescind his bail and ensure that he would not be able to leave the country.

Although Reynante Gante who earlier posted bail of P100,000 for his provisional liberty was in court for his scheduled arraignment, his former coworkers asked the court to issue a hold departure order against him, saying he was dangerous and a flight risk.

They also moved that his bail be rescinded or raised to P1.2 million, the amount he allegedly stole from the bank.

The motions filed by Chinabank cashier Reynante Yu and branch operations assistant Renee Rose Avendaño prompted Judge Germano Francisco Legaspi of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 77 to reset Gante’s arraignment to April 1. At the same time, Legaspi said he would hear the twin motions on Friday.

Yu and Avendaño were among the bank employees locked up in a room by Gante when he robbed the Chinabank E. Rodriguez Sr. Boulevard branch in Quezon City on May 25 last year.

He was arrested on Jan. 23 by the police in Barangay (village) Sta. Ines, San Luis town in Agusan del Sur, where he had been hiding for eight months after purchasing several hectares of land.

In their motion opposing the granting of bail to Gante, the complainants said that once freed, there was no guarantee the suspect would not flee.

“It need not be stressed that accused (Gante) is a dangerous criminal. Accused [confessed] to the robbery but showed no remorse for his felonious act. Accused went into hiding to avoid prosecution and apprehension by police authorities. He hid himself far from the reach of authorities so he can enjoy the fruits of his dastardly deed …” they added.

They further said that Gante still had the money he stole from the bank and “the possibility of him jumping bail [was] certain.” They noted that Gante even lied to the court about his address.

“By granting him bail, the honorable court will unduly put the lives and safety of private complainants and their co-employees in Chinabank in danger,” they argued, adding, “Private complainants implore this honorable court to deny accused’s application for bail or at the very least, increase the amount of bail to P1.2 million—the amount of money unlawfully taken by accused from Chinabank. Otherwise, this will create a chilling effect that will tarnish the banking industry’s reputation and instill fear among the general public as regards the safety of their deposits.”

In their motion for the issuance of a hold departure order, the private complainants cited a press conference last month where Gante admitted robbing the bank.

“It is important that the accused not flee the jurisdiction of the honorable court by preventing him from moving out of the country where he could escape prosecution. The accused has already escaped from  authorities before and it is very possible that he could do it again,” they said.

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