Edsa bus holdup makes cops rethink night watch
MANILA, Philippines–Now it makes sense to conduct “Oplan Panhik Bus” also during the daytime.
An early-morning bus robbery on the Makati City-section of Edsa terrorized rush-hour passengers on Tuesday, making the local police rethink a nocturnal strategy against such crimes.
“Holdup incidents were really rampant in that area at night, that’s why we launched ‘Oplan Panhik Bus,’” said Supt. Jaime Santos, Makati police deputy chief for operations. “Our men get into the buses and introduce themselves as policemen to serve as deterrent.”
“The nighttime robberies ceased, that’s why the robbers are now striking in the morning,” Santos said in an interview on Inquirer Radio. “Because of this (latest) incident, there will now be Oplan Panhik Bus also in the morning.”
The Makati police said two armed men—one wielding a 9-mm pistol, the other a knife—declared a holdup on a southbound South Union Liner bus as it approached the corner of Edsa and Gil Puyat Avenue in Barangay Bel-Air around 7:40 a.m.
The bus was packed but the two men were able to take gadgets and other valuables all worth around P40,000 from only four passengers.
The robbers then got off the bus with their loot and were last seen walking toward Estrella Street. Santos said a commotion ensued among the passengers after the robbers’ escape, as some of them scrambled to get off the bus as well.
Traffic marshals on Edsa mistook two passengers on another bus for the robbers, after word spread that the robbers got on another bus to flee, Santos added. The two arrested passengers were later released.
Chief Insp. Reycon Garduque, head of the Makati police investigation unit, said the victims were shown pictures from a rogue gallery, where they pointed to two men—Robin Abraham Orbeta and Aaron John Penaflor—as the ones closely resembling the robbers.
Garduque said Orbeta and Penaflor were alleged members of the Anover-Abraham/Katipunan robbery group which preyed on victims mostly in Mandaluyong City and Quezon City. They have pending robbery cases but are out on bail, he added.
According to Santos, Oplan Panhik Bus was launched following observations that robberies on the Makati stretch of Edsa mostly happen from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Makati policemen had since been boarding buses “randomly” and “for weeks it has been serving as a deterrent to criminals,” he said.
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