Cops studying inside job angle behind Binondo bank robbery

A screenshot from the CCTV video showing the robbers entering Metrobank Binondo yesterday morning. <i>Photo: ABS-CBN News</i>
A screenshot from the CCTV video showing the robbers entering Metrobank Binondo yesterday morning. Photo: ABS-CBN News

Manila police are still baffled by yesterday’s robbery of a Metrobank branch in Manila’s Binondo district. They are now investigating the possibility that the heist was an inside job, Manila Police District Director Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. said in an interview with radio station DZMM today.

Danao said they found it strange that the bank opened earlier than 9am, the start of official banking hours.

“It is very unusual that a bank would open at that time. This was before banking hours, around 8:43 a.m,” he said.

He also found it unusual that the employees did not allow the police to immediately enter the bank to investigate. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno had to intervene and ask the employees to let the cops in. By the time they did, two hours had passed since the robbers left the bank.

“The most critical hour is the first hour,” Danao told The Philippine Daily Inquirer in a separate interview. “That’s the time when you ask the employees how the robbers looked, what they did, what they took, [and] if anybody was hurt.”

“Most importantly, you try to preserve the fingerprints. But two hours had passed. They didn’t let us in, from 9am to 11am.”

While the robbers were able to steal the bank’s CCTV footage, the police managed to secure a copy from another CCTV installed by village officials. The video shows that vendors outside the bank were laughing together, unaware that a robbery was taking place.

“It was as if nothing happened,” Danao told DZMM.

It also showed several unarmed men, believed to be the robbers, knocking on the bank’s glass door then entering it. Danao believed that the security guards did not try to stop them from entering.

He said there were five robbers who entered the bank, and that they all left onboard motorcycles. One of the robbers appeared on the CCTV footage wearing a Grab jacket.

“How come they just opened the door and let them in?” Danao asked on DZMM. “How come they weren’t able to react? They weren’t able to stop them when they weren’t expecting any visitors around that time?”

According to Police Lt. Col. Noel Aliño, commander of the Binondo Police Station, there were at least three security guards inside the bank when the heist took place, reported Inquirer. Two were armed with shotguns while one had a .38-cal. revolver.

Danao said they will release cartographic sketches of the suspects soon.

No one was hurt from the heist.

Meanwhile, Mayor Moreno has offered a PHP1 million reward to anyone who could provide information that would lead to the suspects’ arrest, reported Rappler. 

Ride-hailing company Grab Philippines said they would also offer a reward of PHP50,000 (US$976.87) to informants. The company promised to help the police in their investigation, reported ABS-CBN News. 

Read more from Coconuts Manila here


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