Singer robbed, wounded in ATM attack

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02:38 AM February 20th, 2013

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February 20th, 2013 02:38 AM

He came away with six stitches on the head and utter disappointment with people who were apparently too slow to help.

A professional singer suffered more than just physical trauma after being robbed at an automated teller machine (ATM) site in Mandaluyong City before dawn Tuesday.

Joel Mendoza, 44, a Viva recording artist, said he was attacked by a pistol-wielding man despite having his driver parked near the bank and that some tricycle drivers who heard him shout for help did nothing to stop the assault.

Also, the local police only started attending to his case “four hours after the incident,” Mendoza told the Inquirer on the phone when reached at Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center on Edsa.

He said he had just checked his balance on a Metrobank ATM on Libertad Street around 4 a.m. and was about to return to his Toyota Rav 4 SUV when a man approached and pushed him.

The man demanded his wallet and also grabbed the envelope in his back pocket, which Mendoza said contained P20,000 in cash that he withdrew earlier from a Hongkong & Shanghai Bank Corp. branch in Taguig City.

As Mendoza reached into his other pocket for the wallet, the man hit him thrice in the head with a pistol. The assailant was about to shoot, he said, when his driver Arnold Joseph Raflores rushed out of the SUV and engaged the robber in a scuffle.

Raflores wrestled with the robber and forced him to drop the gun—but another man came and picked up the weapon from the ground.

“That’s when I realized that there were two of them,” Mendoza said.

A hard kick from Raflores sent the two men running toward a parked scooter, which they used to flee with Mendoza’s P20,000.

Mendoza recalled shouting for help during the scuffle as he saw some tricycles drivers nearby.

“But they didn’t do anything” and only approached when the robbers were already gone to give them directions to the nearest hospital, he said.

Mendoza, who required six stitches for his head injuries, remained under observation at the hospital at press time.

The victim also complained that the Mandaluyong police only started talking to him four hours after the incident.

City police chief Senior Supt. Florendo Quiboyen, however, defended his men against insinuations that they were slow in their response, saying they received the report an hour after the robbery.

He said the investigators immediately went to the scene and deferred talking to Mendoza while he was still undergoing treatment. “Our concern was to get as many statements as we could from witnesses,” Quiboyen said.

The officer said one of the two attackers had been identified based on the rogues’ gallery shown to Raflores.

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