Ex-cop named suspect in P1-M Sara robbery

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A dismissed cop and his unidentified cohort were named suspects in the P1-M broad daylight heist in Sara, Iloilo.

Lyman John Ochenta, 33, of Poblacion Sur, Balasan, Iloilo and a John Doe were charged with robbery before the Iloilo Provincial Prosecutors’ Office afternoon of Dec 21, 2022.

Lieutenant Colonel Norlan Perante, Sara police chief, said Ochenta denied any involvement in the robbery that happened at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Barangay Apologista, Sara.

Ochenta presented several witnesses claiming that he was in Batad town when the heist was committed.

But Perante said the victim, Dayana Marie Ciudad, positively identified Ochenta as one of the two suspects who robbed her.

The 25-year-old Ciudad, supervisor of J&T Logistics, and their company driver, 24-year-old Rodel John Cuaresma, had just left their office on board a Yamaha Mio motorcycle when they were waylaid by two motorcycle-riding men.

The backrider allegedly poked a handgun at them and instructed the woman to give her the backpack containing around P1 million in cash.

She was even told not to resist as they only wanted the money.

After taking the bag, the suspects fled in the direction of Barangay Labigan, Sara.
The back rider’s face was partly concealed with a rider cloth mask.

During the investigation, Ciudad and Cuaresma attested that they could identify the suspect if they could see him again.

When presented with several photographs from the police “rogue’s gallery,” they positively pinpointed Ochenta.

It was gathered that the ex-policeman has been in the rogue’s gallery as he and several others were charged for robbery with homicide.

The suspects were accused of killing a security guard after robbing him with around P320,000 in payroll cash on Sept. 10, 2022 in the waters of Carles town.

After Ciudad and Cuaresma’s confirmation, police went to Ochenta’s house in Balasan but he was not around.

“However, his wife assured us that she will personally communicate with her husband to appear before our office,” Perante said.

A few hours later, Ochenta’s wife called Perante informing the latter that she and Ochenta will be at the Sara Municipal Police Station by 6 p.m.

By 6:30 p.m., amid the suspect’s denial, he was placed under arrest.

It was gathered that while a rookie cop at Sara PNP, the suspect was dismissed from service over a drug-related administrative case.