FAA OnLiNe

Thursday, November 17, 2005

IN HOT WATER

Suspected robber pulls rug
under Barotac Nvo police

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Barotac Nuevo police force is in hot water over the escape of a robbery suspect from the Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) Sunday afternoon.
Insp. Avelino Natal, Barotac Nuevo PNP chief, and his personnel have a lot of explaining to do with their superiors as to why Johnny Balsomo, 24, of Barangay Concepcion-Duran, Iloilo City Proper slipped past their guard at the WVMC.
Balsomo is one of the suspects in the November 6 robbery attempt on businessmen Simeon and Aida Rubuin at Fiammetta Subdivision in Barangay Tabuc Suba, Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.
The Rubuin couple and two of their children were on board an Anfra van when Balsomo and two other suspects chased the family on board a motorcycle.
The suspected robbers shot the van with an unknown firearm which damaged the vehicles right front wheel and windshield.
The chase continued at a heavy populated area of the subdivision until gunshots flared in the area.
Balsomo, who drove the motorcycle, felt the bullet from the unseen gunman hit his abdomen.
The suspects immediately fled and brought Balsomo to the Passi District Hospital but he was later transferred to WVMC at Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
When investigated by police, Balsomo said he incurred the wound during a shooting incident at Dumarao, Capiz.
On Sunday, Balsomo’s mother Rosini reported to the Mandurriao PNP that her son was nowhere to be found.
Based on the blotter report, Rosini said her son asked for permission to have snacks at the WVMC cafeteria past 3pm Sunday.
After several minutes, Rosini fetched her son from the cafeteria but he already vanished from the hospital’s vicinity.
UNGUARDED
What made Balsomo’s escape controversial is the failure of the Barotac Nuevo police to guard the suspect while in confinement at the hospital.
Right after he was confined at the Passi City hospital, Shiela Rubuin, daughter of Simeon and Aida, positively identified Balsomo as one of the suspects who waylaid their vehicle on November 6.
Despite the identification of the victims, the Barotac Nuevo police only decided to guard Balsomo on November 9 after Senior Supt. Efren Quintos, Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) director, ordered them to secure the suspect.
PO3 Rio Estilo, Barotac Nuevo PNP investigator, said they cannot handcuff Balsomo to his hospital bed since no warrant of arrest has been issued against the suspected robber.
Estilo said they still have to wait for the provincial prosecutor to resolve the attempted robbery with homicide charges against Balsomo and his cohorts.
Supt. Cornelio Defensor, IPPO deputy director for operations, said they will investigate the whole Barotac Nuevo police force why they failed to guard Balsomo.
But Defensor said they also have to follow procedures on the issuance of warrants of arrest.
As to Balsomo’s case, Defensor said the principle of hot pursuit did not apply anymore since they only ascertained the suspect’s involvement in the case more than three days after the incident.
“We have to follow the process or else our police will bear the brunt of their actions,” Defensor said.
Defensor added Natal has no liability over Balsomo’s disappearance since the latter was not under arrest “but if he violated a direct order from our provincial director, then he (Natal) is liable for insubordination.”
The Rubuins were disappointed to learn of Balsomo’s escape.
Lawyer Evary Tupas, counsel for the Rubuins, told Aksyon Radyo that his clients were surprised to learn of the escape since “we trusted the police to guard him at the hospital.”
Equally distraught was Balsomo’s mother who is now in a quandary on how to pay her son’s P9,000 hospital bill.
Natal admitted his failure to deploy his personnel to secure Balsomo.
Doctors and nurses who took care of Balsomo said Natal asked them to inform the latter if the suspect is discharged from the hospital.
WHO’S THE GUNMAN?
Based on latest investigation by the IPPO, one of the Rubuins may have shot Balsomo.
IPPO sources said the suspects planned to kill an unidentified son of the Rubuins for personal reasons.
“Ang holdup pag-patalang lang ato. Ang motibo amu nga patyun ang anak sg mga Rubuin (The holdup angle is just a deception. The real motive is to kill the son of the Rubuins),” the IPPO source said.
The source added “it was easy for the victims to hit Balsomo since the suspects were driving close to the van.”
The Rubuins had denied carrying a gun during the incident. (Published in The Guardian, November 15, 2005 issue)

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