Cops say city free of organized robbery group

By: Jennifer P. Rendon 

THE Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) said no organized robbery group is operating or is trying to make a move in the city.

Police Colonel Martin Defensor Jr., Iloilo City police director, said there only exists small-time robbery and theft groups that may strike at any opportune time.

“These are individuals who prey on unattended houses. They are not organized. Kung makakita ng tyempo, doon sila tumitira,” Defensor said.

Defensor made the statement following the P4.5-million jewelry heist inside Gaisano City Grand Mall in Bacolod City last Wednesday.

The suspects’ modus operandi was akin to that of the Martilyo Gang, which made a name in Luzon area.

But Defensor said the suspects in the Gaisano jewelry heist was a local group based in Negros Occidental.

He said the suspects are not part of the original Martilyo gang.

“I’m part of the group that neutralized the original Martilyo Gang and the Bacolod City robbers are a different group,” he said.

So far, intelligence operatives have not monitored that the group might plan to cross to Iloilo City.

But nonetheless, Defensor said he already ordered all police stations and units in Iloilo City to be on alert.

“They should double their efforts in intelligence monitoring. They were instructed to coordinate with financial establishments, jewelry stores, and similar businesses,” he said.

The last big-time robbery incident in Iloilo City happened on Feb. 24, 2018.

Just like in Bacolod City, robbers also ransacked a jewelry shop inside the Gaisano Department Store at Guanco Street.

Police identified four suspects who are all natives of Mountain Province.

The management of Aljun Jewelry Store declared that they lost P10 million worth of jewelry and P70,000 cash.