PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE– AT LEAST eight bank employees and a security guard were lined up and shot dead in the head in Cabuyao, Laguna, yesterday, in one of the bloodiest bank robberies in the Philippines, police said.
One employee was in critical condition in a hospital.
The victims were found sprawled on the floor of a branch of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. after the bank failed to open as scheduled at 9 a.m., and suspicious customers alerted authorities, Chief Supt. Ricardo Padilla said.
“This is the handiwork of the devil and we will not let this pass,” Padilla said.
“They were killed in a gangland-style execution. Each of the victims was shot in the head while lined up.”
Padilla said the robbers could have used silencers because residents in the area heard no gunshots coming from the bank.
He said two security guards were missing, leading authorities to suspect they were involved in the robbery. Another police officer, speaking on local radio, said there was no sign of forceful entry.
Padilla said another security guard was among the dead. It wasn’t clear how much money was stolen.
Bank vice president Edwin Ermita said that the assailants tried to hide the body of the security guard under a tarpaulin in the rear of the bank.
Laguna provincial police chief Felipe Rojas said a vehicle owned by one of the bank employees was used by the robbers to escape. It was later recovered several kilometers away and will be checked for fingerprints, he said.
He said the victims, including two inside the open bank vault, were shot point-blank.
Empty handgun shells were recovered on the bank floor and a shotgun believed owned by the slain security guard was found outside, he said.
Bank robberies are common but rarely as bloody. Rojas said this was the worst in the country’s history.
Bank president and chief executive Lorenzo Tan mourned the death of the officers, staff and a client in the robbery.
“We strongly condemn the people who perpetrated such act,” he said in a statement.
“We convey our condolences to those who have lost loved ones, all of whom will be permanently affected by this tragedy.”