Man accused in loss of funds for poor held
LEGAZPI CITY—Police have arrested one of two suspects who stole P3.4 million in funds meant for beneficiaries of the government’s cash aid program for the poorest of the poor in a robbery that investigators described as an inside job.
The suspect was arrested on Friday in the island town of Rapu-Rapu in Albay province.
Armed with a warrant of arrest, police arrested Henry Bibat, 44, resident of Barangay Carcaran in Rapu-rapu town past 1 p.m. on Friday in his residence.
Bibat, according to police, is one of two suspects in the the robbery that involved funds for the government’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program in Rapu-rapu.
Senior Insp. Arnel Bellen, Rapu-rapu police chief, said in a report that Bibat and his uncle, Eddie, a village councilman, were tagged by witnesses as persons of interest in the P3.4 million CCT heist in January this year. Eddie is still at large.
According to police files, two bonnet-wearing suspects armed with bladed weapons barged into a boarding house in Villahermosa village in Batan Island, Rapu-Rapu town where two employees of the St. Anthony Development Cooperative (SADC)—Allan Comptente and Rechilda Batang
—were preparing envelopes containing cash for 1,350 CCT beneficiaries in January.
The two were held up, tied and gagged by the suspects who took off with the money.
SADC is a conduit of the National Confederation of Cooperatives (Natcco), the authorized conduit of the Land Bank of the Philippines, the depository bank of funds for the CCT program.
Bellen, in an earlier interview, said the witnesses’ affidavits and pieces of evidence led to the suspects who pulled off the heist on Jan. 26.
In a phone interview, Bellen said that the Bibats had been implicated in the case after police investigators found signs of an inside job through pieces of evidence and testimony from witnesses.
They revealed that the boarding house, where the heist was pulled off, is owned by Eddie.
The two suspects went into hiding after the robbery, the police chief said.
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