MANILA, Philippines - Policemen intercepted carjackers who reportedly drove off with a Toyota Land Cruiser of former lawmaker Mat Defensor in Quezon City on Thursday afternoon, rescuing Defensor’s driver and recovering the sport utility vehicle (SUV).
The same group was allegedly behind the robbery of a University of the Philippines (UP) professor and a string of other robberies last year, police officials said.
Defensor’s driver, Danilo Victoria, was waiting for his boss along Xavierville Avenue in Loyola Heights at around 2 p.m. when the four suspects – later identified as Noel Delosa, Alvin Ignacio, Dennis Valdez, and Gonzalo Terado – forced him to transfer to the back seat as they commandeered the SUV, Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Station 9 commander Richard Fiesta said.
Along the way, the suspects also took the driver’s phones and wallet.
“They (suspects) were even telling the driver they would have his boss pay for his release,” Fiesta said.
Thirty minutes later, Victoria was unaware that he was being rescued when there was a sudden commotion inside the SUV, QCPD director Chief Superintendent Richard Albano said.
Albano said among those recovered from the suspects were a .45 caliber gun, a revolver, a 9mm pistol, a hand grenade and suspected shabu.
QCPD deputy director for administration Senior Superintendent Joel Pagdilao said they received information that an armed robbery group would stage a hit in the vicinity of the UP campus in Diliman.
Series of heists
Pagdilao said it was the same group who robbed political science professor Perlita Frago-Marasigan on Oct. 16 last year.
The professor was robbed by the suspects as she was about to board her car at the parking lot fronting Palma Hall. She was pushed into her car, handcuffed and had her head covered by the suspects. Threatened by the suspects, she divulged the PIN of her ATM.
After the suspects withdrew money and took her iPhone, the professor was driven back to the campus where she was eventually left behind by the suspects.
Albano said the same group was behind a robbery along Esteban Abada street also in Loyola Heights on Nov. 24, 2013 and another one on Nov. 28, 2013 at the corner of T.M. Kalaw and Quirino streets at the UP campus.
Pagdilao said Ignacio, who is believed to be the leader of the group, had also been identified as one of the armed men who robbed a UV Express van along Commonwealth Avenue in Barangay North Fairview on July 27, 2013.