POLICE arrested a former member of the Philippine Marine Corps for the series of robberies in Iloilo province.
Ricky Herebola, 37, of Delgado St., Poblacion, Sta. Barbara, Iloilo, was busted minutes after robbing a distribution company 4 p.m. of July 10, 2018 at Barangay Guinobatan, Leganes, Iloilo.
Aries Diasnes, 35, of, assistant sales representatives of Japan Tobacco Corp., claimed that a motorcycle-riding man robbed them at gunpoint.
The suspect only carted P2,500 cash as he failed to take another bag that contained a bigger amount of money.
Leganes Police Station personnel were immediately deployed and arrested the suspect at around 4:30 p.m. at Barangay Cagamutan Norte.
Police recovered from the ex-Marine a caliber .45 pistol (serial number 901656) with two magazines loaded with 17 ammunition, P2,500 cash, a sachet of suspected shabu, and a hand grenade placed inside a sling bag, among others.
His motorcycle was registered in the name of a certain Michael John Catalogo.
Senior Superintendent Marlon Tayaba, Iloilo police chief, said they planned the suspect’s arrest last week after a series of robberies committed by the same person.
The Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) recorded at least six robbery incidents that started in late May 2018.
Two heists happened in Sta. Barbara, two in Leganes and one each in Passi City and Dumangas.
“The victims have the same description of the suspects, the same modus operandi, and the gun and motorcycle used,” Tayaba said.
The suspect also eyed only one kind of victim: delivery vans of distribution companies.
Last week, the suspect failed to strike.
“We figured that he would stage another robbery this week,” Tayaba said, as he ordered the deployment of intelligence operatives.
Senior Inspector Dadje Delima, Leganes police chief, said the victim targeted sales agents as victims because he used to be one.
Herebola entered the military service in 2004 and was assigned in Zamboanga. He went AWOL (absent without official leave) in 2008.
He claimed that he went AWOL on purpose since he and his wife were preparing to move to Canada.
While waiting for their application, he applied for work. He was later fired after he allegedly embezzled P96,000.
“He knew the work of a sales agent, where they take their rest, and the time they collected a big amount of money,” Delima said.
In one of the heists, one of the victims had a hunch that it was Herebola although the latter was wearing a crash helmet when carrying out his plan.
Delima said they are still determining if the suspect was also involved in other robbery cases.
Herebola is now detained at Leganes Police Station pending the filing of charges against him.