Armed men rob Japanese restaurant, customers in Pampanga
MABALACAT CITY, Pampanga — Four armed men barged into a Japanese restaurant along Lazatin Boulevard in the City of San Fernando in this province and robbed at gunpoint the staff and customers inside the establishment, authorities said on Tuesday, Nov. 21.
San Fernando Mayor Vilma Caluag and police chief Lieutenant Colonel Preston Bagangan condemned the robbery and promised to take measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.
In a belated police report obtained by the Inquirer, investigators said the robbery took place between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 at the Road Side 9 Japanese Restaurant.
Bagangan said the victims were not able to immediately report the robbery to the police because the still-unidentified suspects took their mobile phones.
After some victims notified the nearest police outpost about the robbery, patrol teams were dispatched to go after the robbers aboard a white Hyundai Tucson sports utility vehicle that sped off toward the MacArthur Highway.
“Our policemen chased the suspects’ vehicle until the tracking was lost in Apalit (the southernmost town of Pampanga that borders Bulacan),” Bagangan said.
It was learned that the armed suspects took at least P70,000 in cash and the still-undetermined worth of cellular phones and other belongings of the restaurant staff and 13 customers.
Caluag said the lack of security guards “in some establishments” and the non-functioning security cameras on the road had emboldened the culprits.
She said there were also not enough police officers in the capital city.
The mayor said San Fernando has a population of more than 357,000 at night and millions during the day, including residents of other localities who work, study, and pass through the capital city, but there were only more than a hundred policemen in the city.
Caluag said she would meet with local business groups to discuss the need for hiring security guards and the installation of security cameras in establishments.
She said the city government would also deploy public safety personnel along with business establishments as force multipliers under police supervision.
The San Fernando police are conducting a follow-up investigation to identify and arrest the suspects. INQ