Sat, May 17, 2008 - Page 5 News List

Bank robbers kill nine employees execution-style

AP , MANILA

At least eight bank employees and a security guard were lined up and shot dead in the head 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 in Cabuyao town in Laguna Province, south of Manila, after the bank failed to open as scheduled and suspicious customers alerted authorities, Chief Superintendent 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 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 police to suspect they were involved in the robbery. Another 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 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 to be owned by the slain security guard was found outside, he said.

Rojas said this was the worst bank robbery in the country’s history.

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