ROBBERS made off with close to P10 million worth of cash and jewelry after leaving the dead bodies of their two victims inside a vehicle that was discovered in Barangay Tanañas in San Fernando, Cebu around 7 p.m. on Friday, June 18, 2021.
The victims were identified as Gavino Sanchez, 49, and his wife Arlene, 47.
Police Maj. Eduard Sanchez said when he found that his brother and his sister-in-law had been abducted, he immediately sought the help of authorities.
Eduard believes the couple was killed at dawn Thursday, saying residents in the area heard gunshots during that time.
He also saw a security camera footage of a white pickup chasing after his brother’s black pickup at a crossing in Barangay Tubod, Minglanilla.
He said Arlene had a gunshot wound in the head. However, he couldn’t stomach to look at his brother’s dead body.
The Scene of the Crime Operation 7 was able to recover several bullets at the crime scene.
Eduard’s niece Aileen, 23, said her father returned home at 10 p.m. Wednesday. However, he didn’t stay long. She said he went straight to the vault to get money and jewelry and then headed out again. Her mother must have been waiting outside inside the pickup with the perpetrators, she said.
Aileen has requested Police Regional Office 7 Director Ronnie Montejo to create a task force to fast-track the investigation of her parents’ murder.
Eduard said their two families were last together on June 5. He said Gavino didn’t mention any enemies or any sort of trouble. They only talked about business, family and religion, he said.
Eduard said he will ask the Anti-Cybercrime Group 7 to look into the case since he discovered that his brother was online on Facebook at the time he was killed.
Eduard said Gavino, who was a liaison officer of the Department of Education in Minglanilla, would pick up Arlene at the Tubod Elementary School where she was a teacher every afternoon.
He said the robbers must have placed his brother under surveillance, especially since Gavino also ran a successful business.
Lt. Zosimo Ravanes Jr., team leader of the Anti-Kidnapping Group 7-Visayas Field Unit, told SunStar Superbalita Cebu that the perpetrators were organized.
The way they carried out the crime was similar to the modus of notorious kidnap-robbery groups, he said, adding that the perpetrators must have had local contacts.
“Nasubay nato Huwebes sa alas 10:00 sa buntag naka-withdraw sa ATM sa may dakbayan sa Mandaue, P50,000, pero duda mi dili ang biktima gidala sa mga suspetsado ang ATM,” Ravanes said.
(At 10 a.m. on Thursday, P50,000 was withdrawn from an ATM in Mandaue City, but we suspect it was not the victim who actually withdrew the cash.)
He said they’ve already advised the victims’ family to close their accounts in three banks.
He also clarified that they’re only assisting local police in their investigation by providing them with technical support.
Maj. William Homoc, head of the Minglanilla Police Station, said they’ve already located witnesses. However, the witnesses are too scared to testify, he said.
According to them, the armed perpetrators’ faces were not covered, but they ran when the perpetrators pointed their guns at them.
Homoc said the security camera footage they recovered captured the perpetrator’s vehicle but they couldn’t make out its license plate.
He said his men are checking all the security cameras in the vicinity to look out for the vehicle.
“Amo sab susihon sa uban area basin naay nakuhaan sa CCTV footage kay sure ko gi-survielance ni nila ang mga biktima,” he said.
(We will look at other areas to check if they were caught on the security camera because we’re pretty sure they had been following the victims’ movements for some time.)
Homoc said they still don’t have a person of interest in the case. (GPL / PJB)