PLAINCLOTHES COPS SENT TO PROTECT JEEPNEY RIDERS

MANILA, November 26, 2003 (STAR) Jeepney holdup men beware: The guy sitting next to you may be a plainclothes policeman.

This is because the Western Police District (WPD) has started deploying plainclothes policemen aboard passenger jeepneys to neutralize robbery-holdup groups victimizing passengers of public utility vehicles.

Senior Inspector Benjamin Reyes, chief of the WPD theft and robbery section, said the scheme is meant to serve as a deterrent against robbery and holdup incidents on public utility vehicles.

"This is one way of lessening the incidence of street crimes," Reyes told The STAR.

He said he has given instructions to his plainclothes policemen to ride passenger jeepneys during rush hours, especially in areas where rampant jeepney holdups occur.

These include Taft Avenue, Rizal Avenue, C. M. Recto Avenue, España street in Sampaloc, Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard in Sta. Mesa, Jose Abad Santos Avenue in Tondo and Divisoria.

Reyes added that plainclothesmen will complement the mobile patrol groups assigned in crime-prone areas.

The initial success of the new scheme was noted yesterday when a holdup suspect was arrested in Sta. Cruz, Manila.

The suspect, identified as Jingoy Alcajose, 22, of 865 Arlegui street, Quiapo, was apprehended by SPO3 Renato Reyes after robbing a passenger jeepney at Rizal and C. M. Recto avenues at about 6 a.m.

Recovered from Alcajose, reportedly a member of the Bahala Na Gang, were a fan knife and two cellular phones taken from jeepney passengers plying the Sta. Cruz route.

Reyes said he was inside a passenger jeepney when he noticed a commotion inside another jeepney. Moments later three men jumped out of the vehicle, prompting Reyes to run after the group. He was able to collar Alcajose but his two companions, identified only as "Andy" and "Richard," managed to escape.

Alcajose admitted having perpetrated several holdups inside passenger jeepneys. — Nestor Etolle


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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