Police still hunting for ‘Gaga Robbery Group’ alleged leader, membersBy Jamie Marie Elona
MANILA, Philippines—Police authorities remain on the lookout for the alleged leader of the “Gaga Robbery Group” following the recent arrest of five of its alleged members who were involved in two separate crimes in Quezon City, police said.
Police Chief Superintendent Richard Albano, Quezon City Police District director, identified the arrested suspects as Jomel Tamalla, 24; his brother John Mark Tamalla, 29, both residents of M. Velasquez Street, Mandaluyong City; Ephraim John Evangelista a.k.a Paeng, 27; his live-in partner Jackylene Cleto, 29, both residing on Cisne Street, Pandacan, Manila, and Raul Hunat, 45.
First to be arrested were the Tamalla brothers after they were involved in a robbery on Bureau of Customs lawyer, Attorney Julito Doria, who said that he was robbed of roughly P1.4 million worth of cash and other items on April 16.
Recalling the incident, Doria said he was driving his Toyota Innova with his nephew on Broadway Avenue, New Manila, Quezon City, when his vehicle was hit by another vehicle boarded by five to seven men.
When he went out of his car to check the damage, the suspects, likewise, alighted from their vehicle and forced Doria to get inside his car at gunpoint as one of the suspects drove the vehicle to the victims’ house. Doria and his nephew were hogtied and blindfolded.
Albano said the group identifies the residence of their target before they stage their attack.
Inside the house, the suspects also tied Doria’s wife and their helper and ordered him to open his vault.
Apart from cash and several other items, the suspects also took Doria’s Shiitzu pet dog.
After robbing them, the suspects ordered Doria to board his vehicle again, took him with them, but eventually left him inside his car on Cordillera Street in Galas, Quezon City.
The brothers were arrested last July 27 after authorities flagged them down when they were spotted driving a Honda Jazz that didn’t have a plate number attached to it.
A brief chase ensued after they ignored call of police.
When they were cornered, a 40-caliber Millennium pistol and an MK2 hand grenade without legal papers were recovered from them.
The three other suspects—Evangelista, Cleto and Hunat—were arrested in a follow-up operation after they allegedly robbed a customs police of P10,000 at gun point on July 26 on Katipunan Avenue around 6:20 p.m.
The victim said he was flagged down by a “Pretty Woman Face” who pretended to have experienced engine trouble with her Blue Honda Jazz.
When he came to check on the problem, two men alighted the vehicle and took his cash at gunpoint.
The victim immediately sought assistance of the police. He identified the suspects in the rouge gallery of Quezon City Police District’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit.
The suspects were located with the assistance of Pandacan Village Chieftain Edgar Millan.
Confiscated from the suspects were one 9mm-caliber Glock with one magazine and five live ammunitions; an IPhone 5 and the blue Honda Jazz the suspects used when they robbed the victim.
Investigators later found out that all arrested suspects were among those behind the robbery in Doria’s house last April.
“Atty Doria was informed with the arrest of the suspects and when he saw them he positively identified as the same suspect who hogtied him with his family,” Albano said.
Albano said appropriate charges against the suspects were being prepared for filing at the office of the Quezon City Prosecutors Office.
The leader of the group identified as Resty Branzuela, who uses the alias Gaga, and several others remains at large.
The arrested brothers were charged with violation of PD 1866 as amended by RA 8294 (Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition) and RA 9516 (unlawful possession of explosive) with no bail recommended, while the other three were charged with violation of Art. 294 of Revised Penal Code (robbery).
“This work of my men is a manifestation of their compliance with the PNPs program “CODE P” where they displayed their competence and professionalism in their police work,” Albano said.