MANILA, Philippines – The police on Friday scoured two areas in Taguig City after four new suspects in the daring SM Megamall jewelry store robbery last week were named.
Some 120 policemen from the Southern Police District and National Capital Region Police Office launched a manhunt operation in Upper Bicutan and Maharlika Village to arrest the four suspects, identified as Crisolito Unito, Alex Damalen, Nasrudin Andal and Tho Mangulamas.
After hours of search, however, the police failed to find any of the four.
Police said Unito has a standing arrest warrant for robbery issued by the Zamboanga Regional Trial Court.
The names of the four cropped up amid allegations that three of the five initial set of suspects were actually in jail at the time the robbery was carried out last January 26.
Supt. Miguel Laurel, Eastern Police District director, confirmed that Ben Panday, Mark Calama and Basir Basilon, are indeed detained at the Manila City Jail.
Laurel clarified that their witness could not positively identify Panday's group as among those who participated in the robbery.
Laurel, however, said he is still not discounting the possibility that the Ben Panday Group was behind the heist. He said one of the suspects was identified as a member of the group.
The two other suspects earlier linked to the heist are Maktar Agao and Abuber Abdul Kader.
Manila City Jail warden chief Supt. Lyndon Torres also denied Panday's involvement, saying it was impossible for his group to escape and return to the jail last Saturday. – with a report from Dexter Ganibe, dzMM