13 get life imprisonment for 2004 Banco de Oro robbery
The Valenzuela City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has sentenced 13 people to life imprisonment over a December 2004 bank robbery in which a policeman was killed.
Branch 75 Judge Lilia Mercedes Encarnacion Gepty of Valenzuela RTC Branch 75 found the following guilty of robbery with homicide, without eligibility for parole: Bunny Servilla, Joel Mendoza, Alex Adriano, Zaldy Mangalindan, Alejandro Gaudan, Reynaldo Bustamante, Benjie Adicer, Zaldy Selim, Ricky Cabatsa, Rolly Fernandez, Melvin Lacson, Chris Ablas and Nilo Ocenar.
They were also ordered to pay P350,000 damages to the families of Police Officer 1 (PO1) Victor Zabala and Balthazar de Gula, who were killed in a shootout following the robbery, as well as P150,000 each to Chief Insp. Rhoderick Juan and PO1 Fernando Mariano, who were wounded in the encounter.
The 13 men were accused of robbing the Banco de Oro branch in Dalandanan, Valenzuela City, and taking P330,000 in cash and valuables. While they were able to escape in two vans, they engaged the police team in a shootout that killed Zabala and injured Juan; a grenade also exploded during the incident.
The robbers split up and hid in separate compounds in the area but another police team later arrested them.
“Their coordinated approach and the fact that they fought back against the responding police officers show that they are more than resolved not only to rob but to kill anybody who stands in their way,” read the decision.