2 killed in Alabang Town Center armored van robbery

Posted at 02/10/12 11:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Two individuals were killed in an attempted robbery of an armored van in front of Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City before noon on Friday.

Muntinlupa City Police said robber Benancio Pioquinto and armored van security guard Elmer Tagul died in the shootout that occurred at 11:15 a.m.

Another armored van security guard, identified as Elmo Torreda, was rushed to Alabang Medical Center after the shooting. Another security guard who exchanged fire with the 3 suspects was not injured.

“’Pag baba nung guwardiya, bumunot ‘yung isang namatay [‘yung suspek] ng baril. Babarilin sana siya pero ready din ‘yung guwardiya natin, hinabol niya ng putok. Nang tinamaan niya, may isa pa palang nakatago,” said Chief Inspector Bogart Arao.

Muntinlupa City Police said 3 motorcycle-riding suspects attempted to rob an armored van that was delivering cash to a money changer inside the mall, resulting in a shootout.

The police said Pioquinto's 2 escaped cohorts were not able to get the money from the armored van.

The police have cordoned off a portion of the mall's premises after curious onlookers swarmed the area. Glass panels of the mall and several vehicles were also damaged in the shootout.

Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) personnel have arrived in the area, where many empty bullet shells were found.

The incident forced some of the establishments inside the mall to close for the day.

Pioquinto and Tagul's remains will be brought to Eastern Funeral Service.

Torreda, meanwhile, is confined at the intensive care unit of Alabang Medical Center.

Ozamis group

Police believe that members of the Ozamis robbery group were behind the foiled attempt to steal from an armored van.

Authorities said the group is known for targeting armored vans in Cebu and Manila.

Artist sketches for the three suspects still at large are being prepared.

Mall security

Police are now asking the management of the Alabang Town Center to put up closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) even outside the mall.

The management of Alabang Town Center said in a statement that is working closely with Muntinlupa Police “to maintain and ensure the safety of our customers and the mall.”

The mall’s management also assured mall-goers of their safety.

“Rest assured that safety is the utmost concern of Alabang Town Center and security has been beefed up as we maintain normal operations,” the mall management said. -- Reports from Dennis Datu, dzMM; Atom Araullo and Dominic Almelor, ABS-CBN News