By Edwin Fernandez

GETAWAY MOTORBIKE. Police scene of the crime operatives cordon off a motorbike used by robbers of Agencia Brillantes pawnshop along Osmeña Street, Koronadal City, on Wednesday (Feb. 21, 2024). The motorbike was used as a getaway vehicle by the suspects who wore police activity uniforms. (Photo courtesy of South Cotabato PPO)

KORONADAL CITY – The city government is offering PHP500,000 cash to anyone who can provide authorities with the information leading to the arrest and prosecution of six gunmen who robbed a pawnshop here Wednesday.

Mayor Eliordo Ogena announced the bounty Friday and expressed optimism that close circuit television (CCTV) footage could help identify the suspects who robbed Agencia Brillantes along Osmeña Street.

“The city government is offering PHP500,000 cash for any info(rmation) about the suspects; your identities will be kept confidential,” Ogena said.

Police are still determining the amount of cash and jewelry stolen from the pawnshop.

Col. Samuel Cadungon, South Cotabato police provincial director, said three of the six suspects wore police uniforms.

Based on the CCTV footage, two were carrying long firearms and others were armed with handguns, Cadungon said.

Several hours later after the robbery, police recovered a getaway motorbike, personal belongings, and a firearm used by the suspects in the 11 a.m. robbery/hold-up in Barangay Gen. Paulino Santos.

In 2014, the same pawnshop was ransacked by armed robbers, carting away over PHP2 million worth of jewelry and cash. One of the two security guards was killed by the attackers.

Hunt on

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo, meanwhile, said they are now determining how the suspects were able to get police athletic uniforms.

“Meron na silang mga persons of interest na tinututukan at initially ay hindi po ito mga pulis ang naidentify at yun po ang target ng ating investigation ngayon to determine saan sila nakakuha ng unipormeng suot nila (They are already focusing on persons of interest and initially, we have determined that these suspects are not police officers. We are now determining where they sourced the uniformed they were wearing),” Fajardo said in a phone interview.

She added that aside from robbery charges, the suspects who used police uniforms to pretend as persons of authority might face charges of usurpation of authority and illegal use of uniform and insignia under Articles 177 and 179 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC).

“The pictures of the suspects were already published. I also call on the public to immediately inform the police if they have information on these suspects for them to be caught and held accountable,” she added. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)