Manila 'rubout' was planned, says police asset

MANILA, Philippines – A civilian asset of the Manila Police District (MPD) revealed that the 5 policemen in the alleged "rubout" of a suspected robber plotted the whole incident on Tuesday, July 14, in Sampaloc, Manila.

In a press conference at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), investigators presented a potential witness they named only as “Dagul,” who told media that everything was planned to nab notorious robber Robin Villarosa.

Everything was planned except for the killing of Villarosa, Dagul explained on Monday, July 20.

“Ang totoong nangyari ay set-up lang talaga. Walang pinag-usapan na papatayin siya (Villarosa). Ang plano talaga ay huhulihin lang, wala pong planong papatayin,” Dagul said. (It was all just a set-up. We did not talk about killing Villarosa. The plan was just to arrest him, killing him was not part of the plan.)

Dagul told media that Villarosa had been targeted by the police after the latter allegedly stabbed and robbed his victim outside the University of Santo Tomas.

The plan

Dagul recalled that he received an order from Gulod Police Community Precinct commander Senior Inspector Rommel Salazar Salazar to conduct a surveillance on Villarosa on Monday, July 13.

The informant added that the policeman told him to persuade Villarosa to conduct a robbery in Sampaloc, Manila.

The plot was to rob village official Stevenot de Leon, who was also part of the plan to set up Villarosa.

The informant revealed that Salazar offered to pay him P20,000 for setting up Villarosa. Aside from the money, Salazar gave Dagul illegal drugs he could share with Villarosa before they carry out the plan.

“Gaya ng utos sa akin, niyaya ko manghold-up si Robin [Villarosa] at pumayag naman siya at sinabi pa na papalo muna ako ng droga. 'Yung drugs daw sabi ni Salazar ay para maengganyo siyang sumama sa akin,” Dagul said.

(Just as they had ordered me, I persuaded Robin to rob someone and he agreed. He even asked me to use illegal drugs before the deed. Salazar said the drugs were given to me so Villarosa would agree to go with me.)

At around 10 pm on July 14, Villarosa and Dagul went to Barangay 564, where De Leon was waiting.

Just as they had planned, Dagul took the bag of De Leon and immediately rode the tricycle which Villarosa drove, the informant said.

Dagul admitted he was the one riding at the back of the tricycle as shown in closed circuit television (CCTV) footages.

He also said he gave the signal for the police to come by firing a gun Salazar gave to him.

“Nung malapit na 'yung tricycle sa nakaharang na mga pulis ay tumalon na ako mula sa tricycle. Akala ko huhulihin lang si Robin. Bigla na lang may narinig na akong putok,” he said.

(When we were near the policemen who were blocking the road, I jumped off. I thought they were just going to arrest him. But then I heard a gunshot.)

A day after the shooting incident, Salazar allegedly gave Dagul P2,000 and told him to stay in the province.

Dagul did not follow Salazar's orders and went to the National Police Commission (Napolcom) instead.

Natatakot po kasi ako baka balikan ako ng mga pulis, kaya po ako pumunta dito, kasi alam ko ligtas po ako dito,” Dagul said.

(I got scared the police might take their revenge, that is why I went here. I know I am safe here.)

Second witness

The NBI-Napolcom operatives were also able to find another witness who would corroborate Dagul's testimony.

The investigators, however, did not present the second witness to media for being a minor.

“We are planning to place the witnesses under the Witness Protection Program. The Philippine National Police (PNP) will evaluate Dagul if he will be considered as a witness,” said Vicente de Guzman, chief of staff of the NBI Investigation Service.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) officer-in-charge chief superintendent Allen Bantolo, for his part, described Dagul as “the missing link” in the rubout case that the police filed against the 5 members of the MPD.

The 5 police officers implicated in the shooting of Villarosa were Gulod Police Community Precinct commander Senior Inspector Rommel Salazar, PO3 Ferdinan T. Valera, PO1 Ronald M. Dipacina, PO1 Rhoel C. Landrito and PO1 Diomar M. Landoy. –