Police have arrested and charged a former municipal councilor and his companion for allegedly robbing a hardware store in Tayasan, Negros Oriental last Thursday.
Former Councilor Jojo Gantalao, 38, and Rogie Padilla, 31, both of Jimalalud town, were presented for inquest before 4th Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Amelia Lourdes Mendoza late Friday.
They were arrested during hot pursuit operations in the mountains of Jimalalud, the next town north of Tayasan. A third suspect is still at large.
Both suspects, represented by their lawyer, former Jimalalud Mayor Nicon Erames, have denied involvement in the crime.
The police also recovered two motorcycles that were apparently used as getaway vehicles by the suspects.
Insp. Dolger Germudo, Tayasan police chief, said witnesses, including the hold-up victim and hardware employees, have positively identified the two suspects.
Robbed was the MMC Hardware Store, owned by couple Mark and Ellen Cruzpero.
The heist happened around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, when the suspects, who were regular customers, allegedly poked a handgun and a knife at Ellen Cruzpero inside the hardware store and demanded cash.
The suspects fled with P130,000 but not after a brief shootout with PO3 Oliver Malabo, who was refilling his car at a nearby gas station at the time of the hold-up. Malabo said he stopped shooting so as not to endanger the lives of civilians, allowing the suspects to get away on a motorcycle.
A “trisikad” driver, Alejandro Zuñiga, was wounded when a bullet grazed his belly during the shootout. (PNA/Judy Flores-Partlow)