By Jennifer P. Rendon
An Indian lender was allegedly robbed and beaten while doing his collection rounds evening of August 25, 2023 in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo.
The incident happened at around 9:30 p.m. Friday but it was only reported at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Police later arrested Ma. Luisa Dagala, 52, and her live-in partner, Adorico Bartolome, 63, both residents of Ilaya Poblacion Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo; Rodel Antiojo, 51, of Barangay Bagongbong Barotac Nuevo; Magno Locsin, 48, of So-ol Barotac Nuevo; and Anthony Quino, 39, of Tabucan Barotac Nuevo.
Initially, Gucharan Bhathal, 31, of Barangay North Fundidor, Molo, Iloilo City, was reported as a suspect in a theft incident.
Dagala personally went to the Barotac Nuevo Municipal Police Station alleging that they held the Indian national in their custody.
Lieutenant Jerson Baldevia, Barotac Nuevo deputy police chief, said that they asked the woman about the Indian’s offense.
“She told us that her necklace was missing and that the Indian national took it,” he said quoting Dagala.
When Dagala was pressed why she did not immediately report the incident, she alleged that it was already late in the evening.
She also did not report it early in the morning because she had a meeting at 8 a.m. in the barangay.
But when police conducted an investigation, Dagala and four others turned out to be the suspects.
A day before the incident, Bhathal and Dagala had been texting each other.
The woman allegedly borrowed P3,000 twice from the victim.
But she appeared not keen on paying, the police said.
On Friday, she allegedly informed the Indian national that he could pick up her payment.
When Bhathal arrived, the woman was reportedly taking a bath.
The lender went inside the eatery but Quino immediately locked the main door.
Major Jose Nemias Pamplona, Barotac Nuevo outgoing police chief, said they connived in restraining the victim’s feet and hands.
They then mauled the Indian national and took his P10,000 cash and mobile phone.
Pamplona said that the “missing necklace” could just be Degala’s defense for mauling and robbing Bhathal.
Meanwhile, Antiojo, Locsin, and Quino claimed they had no idea that the Indian national was the victim.
The couple allegedly asked for help and did as they were told.
But the police believed there was connivance to threaten the victim.
Despite what happened to him, Bhathal has signed an affidavit of non-interest to pursue charges against the suspects.
Pamplona said the five suspects would be released on Tuesday upon the expiry of their reglementary period of detention.