Security lapses seen in Megamall heist: PNP

By Dharel Placido,

Posted at Jan 28 2013 05:36 PM | Updated as of Jan 29 2013 01:36 AM

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday said lapses in SM Megamall's security enabled armed men to rob a jewelry store inside the mall last Saturday.

Chief Supt. Tomas Rentoy, head of PNP - Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (PNP-SOSIA), said the security guards failed to conduct thorough frisking of the suspects, allowing the latter to enter the mall with their guns and rob F and C Jewelry Store.

The mall's metal detectors will also be inspected.

The PNP-SOSIA also found out that the first security guards to respond to the robbery incident were not armed.

The guards also failed to immediately cordon the area off to prevent the suspects from escaping.

SM Megamall is manned by guards from four security agencies, namely: Lamdan Security Agency, Blue Dragon, Starforce, and Link Security Services.

The PNP-SOSIA said the Lamdan Security Agency was the one tasked to man the ground floor of the mall, where the F and C Jewelry store is located.

The security agencies have been ordered to submit incident reports. Rentoy said they may be meted with fines and suspensions.

Two suspects identified

Senior Superintendent Florendo Quibuyen, Mandaluyong Police officer-in-charge, said the jewelry store saleslady and her supervisor have positively identified the two suspects based on the police rogues gallery.

Quibuyen said an operation has been launched to capture the suspects. He declined to provide more information so as not to jeopardize it.

At least four robbers, supposedly members of the notorious "Martilyo Gang," studied the mall's layout closely, allowing them to do the crime in about two minutes.

The suspects used a pipe wrench to break the glass jewelry case. The pipe wrench was allegedly bought from a hardware store inside the mall. At least 150 pieces of jewelry were taken during the robbery at around 7:30 p.m.

The robbers allegedly fired shots to trigger panic among the shoppers, allowing them to blend in and escape. Two slugs from a .45 caliber gun were recovered at the scene.

SM shootings

In 2011, at least three shooting incidents happened in SM malls.

In July that year, a security guard was killed in a shootout with a Games and Amusement Board employee inside the restroom of SM Delgado Mall in Iloilo City.

Two months after, a woman shot and killed her husband, a sales clerk in SM North Edsa, who allegedly left her for another woman. The security guard who tried to stop the woman from committing suicide was also shot and killed.

That same month, a 13-year-old boy killed his alleged lover and then shot himself in the head. – with a report from Doland Castro, ABS-CBN News