MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III personally checked the situation at SM City North EDSA, a few hours after suspected members of the Martilyo Gang broke inside the mall’s department store.
The President, along with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Alan Purisima, inspected the crime scene.
Aquino left the mall after about 30 minutes.
Roxas said the President went to the crime scene to make sure that the situation was handled accordingly.
"Siniguro ng Pangulo na nasa mga pulis ang sapat na kakayahan at imbestigasyon at tiniyak naman niya na ang utos niya na arestuhin ang dapat arestuhin at full force angdapat mangyari dito," he said.
Roxas said there are more or less five suspects behind the robbery incident but they have managed to escape in the middle of the confusion and panic of the shoppers.
He also said all the materials the suspects used, including crowbars and hammers, were bought in the mall, and the receipts of the transaction are now with the police.
Roxas said the police are now gathering all evidence including CCTV footage that might have caught the faces of the suspects.
"Kung ano man yung nasa CCTV, kung ano man 'yung mga naiwan na gamit, 'yung resibo mismo, lahat ng mga video, lahat po 'yan ay iipunin para sa ganoon ay magka-mabnhut sa mga salarin na ito," he said.
Roxas added that there will be a meeting between the authorities and mall operators on Monday to ensure coordination between malls and to prevent crime.
Meanwhile, Purisima admitted that the suspects got away despite the tight security implemented by law enforcers.
"May security measures tayong ginagawa. Ibig sabihin, effective naman 'yan. Kaya lang dito, meron din silang pag-aaral na ginagawa. So kumbaga sa ano, nakaisa sila dito. Nakiklita naman natin 'yung pinanggalingan ng kanilang instrumento," he said.
Pursima said there will be no deadline in the investigation to make sure that the authorities will not miss anything. -- with report from Henry Atuelan, DZMM