A security guard was found dead at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) 7 headquarters in Tagbilaran City at dawn on Monday just hours after the office was robbed by three armed men at past 3 a.m. on the same day.
Tagbilaran City police investigator PO2 Joseph Elic said that a closed circuit television (CCTV) footage showed that security guard Rene Gementiza, 58, collapsed while the robbery was in progress.
Doctor Teomen Casano of the City Health Office later confirmed that Gementiza died of acute myocardial infarction, commonly known as heart attack. Authorities also later noted that Gementiza was suffering from diabetes and hypertension.
Based on the CCTV footage and initial police investigation, two of the three bonnet-clad suspects broke into the office of NIA-7 Regional Manager Modesto Membreve and carted away various documents and P20,000 personal cash, all placed inside a cloth sack.
The other armed man was stationed at the building’s entrance as lookout.
According to Elic, the armed men held Gementiza, who was stationed at the office’s entrance, at gunpoint and handcuffed him to a door inside the building at around 3:20 a.m.
Gementiza suddenly collapsed as the robbery suspects were about to leave Membreve’s office with the loot at around 3:40 a.m. The men then removed the handcuff from the door and dragged the security guard’s body away from the NIA official’s office and to a hallway.
Amancio Acobo, an off-duty security guard who slept at the NIA compound, found Gementiza’s body at around 5:30 a.m. and immediately called for emergency assistance.
Gementiza was declared dead on the spot.
Meanwhile, police have yet to identify the men as all three of them had bonnets covering their faces.
Elic however pointed out that the suspects may have been familiar with the building’s layout and security measures as they found a diamond cutter at the crime scene which was used to break the “safety glass” to get into Membreve’s office.
Five minutes of CCTV footage recorded during the incident also appeared to have been deleted, Elic said.
Access to the CCTV cameras of the entire building was kept inside Membreve’s office.
For his part, Membreve said that he may have an idea of who was behind the robbery as he noted that the suspects may have been after his personal documents, not the cash.
He however did not elaborate on his suspicion as he awaited the police’s official findings. (Weli Maestrado)