Trader, 5 others held for fake wine robbery

January 29, 2020

LUCENA CITY— Joint Quezon police teams on Tuesday arrested a businessman and his five employees for orchestrating a staged robbery scenario involving some P4.5 million worth of wine products which were earlier reported to have been hijacked by robbers while in transit in Lopez, Quezon.

Quezon police director Col. Audie Madrideo said the businessman identified as Jon Jon Tan de La Torre, 33,  of Libjo, Tiwi, Albay was eventually collared after he was named as the brains by confessed suspects Rodel Bragais, 41; Joseph Olavides, Noel Nosares, 30; Richard Moran, 39; and Marvin Borlagdatan, 30, all residents of Tabaco, Albay and emplyoyees of De la Torre.

Town police commander, Lt. Col. Noel Divino said De la Torre who owns a trucking company, is a busness partner of Filipino- Chinese businessman Robert Cu, 51, resident of Bato, Camarines Sur and dealer of alcoholic beverages of Emperador Brandy.

Divino said the five employees were instructed to transport  4,500 cases of Emperador wine worth P4,500,000 from a warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna to Bicol on January 24.

At around 1a.m. on Monday, Divino said the five employees appeared at Lopez police station and reported that their three trucks loaded with 4,500 cases of Emperador wine were hi-jacked in Bgy. Bacungan, Lopez, Quezon.

However, Divino said they noticed some inconsistencies with the statements of the employees prompting them to conduct a thorough investigation at the place where the alleged hijack incident transpired.

Based on the accounts of some witnesses and video footage of CCTV cameras in the area, it was learned that no actual hijacking incident happened.

While being interrogated, Divino said the employees eventually confessed that everything was only staged and that they only followed instructions from De la Torre.

In a follow-up operation carried out in Albay by Divino’s team and operatives of Provincial Intelligence Branch under Major Gaylor Pagala in coordination with Albay Police Peovincial Offfice, De la Torre was arrested on Tuesday night while the missing 4,500 cases of wine were recovered while loaded in the towns of Pio Duran and Tobaco, Albay in three different trucks owned by one Gaudencio Sodsod.

Appropriate charges have been filed against the six suspects before the Quezon Provincial Prosecutor’s Office. CAPTION:

The five confessed suspects in the staged robbery who named their employer Jon jon de la Torre (not in photo) as the mastermind resulting to the latter’s eventual arrest. (Photo by Gemi Formaran)