Vol. 8 No. 403
Sunday, June 3, 2012
  Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines

Suspects set free in P.6M rob case

Police competence is again under public scrutiny as a P.6M robbery case victimizing a municipal mayor was dismissed at the prosecution level for insufficiency of evidence and inconsistencies of witnesses.

This came in the wake of earlier setbacks in crime solution, one of them in a highly-publicized complaint filed by the police against an intelligence officer of the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) resulting from an alleged buy-bust operation which was also dismissed by the court for legal flaws and technicalities in building the case.

In the robbery victimizing Guindulman mayor Ma. Fe Añana-Piezas, Deputy Provincial Prosecutor Ponciano M. Uy dismissed the complaint of robbery and intimidation of person against the three accused, Ralph Timbal, Dizon Timbal and Arvin Timbal who were tagged as the culprits in the robbery, but without prejudice of refiling the same as the evidence warrant.

Prosecutor Uy, in an Omnibus 4-page resolution dated May 18, 2012, after evaluating the testimonies of the witnesses of both parties as well as the documentary evidence submitted, found no sufficient evidence to indict respondents.

The three accused were earlier pointed by a lone witness, house helper Cherry Mae Amora,

who said they were the perpetrators who entered the house of Guindulman mayor Ma. Fe Anana-Piezas in barangay Guinacot of the same town on May 1, 2012 while the mayor and his husband Dr. Ernesto Piezas was away attending the fiesta of Tagbilaran City that day.

The house helper, in the initial investigation said, on that day, while she was alone, she saw three male suspects who wore black jackets on their face who entered from the back portion of the house.

The suspects allegedly tied her hands and legs with wire and brought her inside the servants’ quarters. She was blindfolded with the use of her own clothes and guarded by the two suspects while one of them went to the bedroom of the spouses Piezas.

Police investigators noted that no cabinet was destroyed and the room appear not disturbed while the robbers were able to easily located the cash box containing P600,000 believed to be proceeds from the mayor’s piggery business, tucked under the bed.

Investigators also noted that there was no exerted effort to locate the money and that the culprits knew where it was hidden.

On May 3, members of the Provincial Intelligence Branch PO3 Nilo Hinay and PO2 Romeo Golosino talked with Dr. Ernesto Piezas about the incident and the latter informed them that he wanted them to investigate the house helper Cherry Mae because he observed she was uneasy and appears to be hiding something.

It was at the time when the house helper interrogated by the PO3 Hinay and PO2 Golosino that she cried and changed her version of the incident, saying she knew the culprit and that they did not wear bonnets and that she knows them because they were introduced to her by one Janet Mapute, also a house helper.

The house helper then give the names of the three suspects and on the basis of this unverified information, PO3 Hinay and PO2 Golosino arrested Dizon Timbal and Ralph Timbal, while Janet Mapute was also invited to the police station.

House helper Cherry Mae , when brought to the police station for confrontation, confirmed that the arrested suspects were the ones who allegedly robbed the house of the municipal mayor.

Based on the testimony of the lone witness house helper, the Guindulman Police, represented by chief of police PInsp Romeo B. Jamero filed two cases of robbery with intimidation on person; one against Ralph and Dizon Timbal and another against Arvin Timbal.

The second version of house helper Cherry Mae that she knew the three culprits who robbed the house of the mayor because they were introduced to her by another house helper and that these culprits did not actually wear bonnets are “incredible and suspicious,” the investigating prosecutor said.

“If it was true that the three respondents were introduced to Cherry Mae prior to the alleged robbery, with more reason that they should wear bonnets in their faces so that the house helper would not recognized them,” the omnibus resolution added.

The police also failed to get confirmation from by Janet Mapute, another helper, that the respondents were introduced by her to witness Cherry Mae when it could have been done since Mapute was one of those picked up by the police.

Guindulman police chief Insp Jamero said, this time the police have no new lead to pursue in possibly locating or identifying other suspects. He said, the police will instead file a case against their former witness, the house helper, in the hope that she will reveal other information that she had not disclosed before. *

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“Alang Niadtong Nabuhi Sa Mga Balod”