Cebu City, Philippines ~ Active Police Staff Sergeant Conchito Payac of the Dauis Police Station was arrested when he was caught robbing a gasoline station in Barangay Poblacion in the town of Trinidad, Bohol province. This was past 1 p.m. on December 17, 2022, a Saturday. He was also found to be deeply addicted to illegal gambling and robbing the gas station was just another way to continue doing so.
Police director of Bohol Police Provincial Office (BPPO) Police Colonel Lorenzo Alfeche Batuan, identified the suspect as Police Staff Sergeant Conchito Payac, 33, an active desk officer of the Dauis Police Station. He is also a resident of Barangay Aguining, Pres. Carlos P. Garcia in Bohol province.
Batuan expressed, “We assure the public that police officer Payac will face the consequences of his actions — both criminal and administrative cases.” In detail, the complaints will be of robbery with intimidation and violence against persons, and administrative cases are readied against Payac.
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Illegal gambling as the root cause of crime
“He is into illegal gambling, duna ni mga manok. Mao ni possibilidad, siguro di sya makasustain sa iyang mga pangihinganlanun financially,” Batuan said.
(He is into illegal gambling. He has fighting cocks. There is a possibility that he could not sustain his needs financially.)
It has been observed that Payac was deeply engaged in illegal gambling, most especially in cockfighting. This has been ongoing and has worsened to the point of Payac affecting him financially and has caused him to commit crimes so he can wager on his next game.
Payac has been tagged as responsible for other robbery incidents in the municipalities of Alica and Duero in Bohol province on two separate dates, the first and then the seventh of December. The same type of establishments were targeted, the gas stations of those towns. The suspect also works alone in his criminal acts.
Investigation involved surveillance
Initial investigation shows that authorities were able to trace back the December 1 incident back to Payac with the December 7 robbery. Police received reports about Payac at this point and this led to the police conducting surveillance of Payac as well as backtracking his daily activities on and off duty.
Chief of Provincial Intelligence Unit of the BPPO, Police Lieutenant Colonel Joemar Pomarejos further revealed that the continuous surveillance saw the suspect in the act of robbing the gasoline station in Barangay Poblacion in Trinidad. Recovered in Payac’s possession were PHP8,000 in cash, a 9 mm Glock pistol, pieces of firearms magazine and a motorcycle with no place number.
“Our surveillance gained a positive result. Nakita sa atoang operatiba nga nga nanulis siya didto,” Pomarejos said.
(Our surveillance gained a positive result. Our operatives saw that the suspect was robbing [the gasoline station] there.)
Other instances of robberies: 1st and 7th of December
Details match up with the other series of robbery incidents. His motorcycle as well as the helmet he used was a big help in tying things together. Payac’s physique was also noted on the reports and security cameras.
Soon after his arrest, previous victims came forward at the Alicia and Duero Municipal Police Stations to identify the policeman as the robber who took valuables from their gasoline stations. Batuan said they will also look into possible drug usage in the investigation.
PRO-7 chief Police Brigadier General Roderick Augustus Alba, Police Regional Office in Central Visayas, for his part, said that the arrest of Payac should serve as a warning to those in uniform who were into illicit activities.
“This should serve as a warning to all officers regardless of rank. There is no room for illegal activities in the PNP organization, particularly addiction to cockfighting gambling. Team PNP Region 7 is taking aggressive steps in its Internal Cleansing Policy involving uniformed personnel involved in illicit activity. I assure the public that we take action against lawlessness especially involving men in uniform. Let us be one in this endeavor towards a cleansed and crime-free Central Visayas community with their trust and confidence,” Alba said in a statement.
It is heartbreaking to see how addiction in any form can get one out of control. Kudos to the PNP for their perseverance in keeping peace and order on this matter. We all know how important it is to simply keep gambling as a form of entertainment and not the be-all and end-all solution. Post your comments below on this folks! Hope to hear from you soon and take things easy, cheers!