By Kate Javier
Seven alleged notorious budol-budol gang members, who use fake money like bible pages and victimizing mostly senior citizens, were nabbed in Valenzuela City yesterday afternoon.
Police identified the suspects as Gina Dela Cruz, 60, of Parañaque City; Rosalie Ramirez, 49, of Pasig City; Andy Dela Cuesta, 34, of Cavite City; Felix Serrano, 43, of Cavite City; Rogelio Barcelo, 49, of Quezon City; Rizalyn Hernandez, 42, of Parañaque City; and Ireneo Lapuz, 52, of Cavite. All of them are jobless.
Dela Cruz and Barcelo admitted that they were detained for theft charges in 2015 and 2000, respectively.
The group who was allegedly responsible for a series of budol-budol incidents in the area, has been under the surveillance of the Valenzuela City police since January, said Senior Inspector Jose Hizon, head of the city police’s investigation unit.
“We got CCTV footage where the plate number of their vehicle was seen. We then verified it to the Land Transportation Office and conducted follow-up operations,” Hizon said.
Until around 2:30 p.m. yesterday along Lazaro Street in Barangay Dalandanan, a team led by Hizon were conducting surveillance when a woman alighted from the silver Toyoto Reto bearing plate number WTP 185, the group’s vehicle.
The woman sought help from the operatives after she was threatened and forced by the group to give her money worth P3,000.
A brief chase happened until the suspects were flagged down and arrested. Recovered from them were five bundles of fake money, including bible pages, jewelry and the woman’s cash, police said.
According to city police’s chief Senior Supt. Rolando Mendoza, another four alleged victims went to the headquarters and positively identified the group as the same people who victimized them.
One of them was 56-year-old Susan who lost her P225,000 cash and her wedding ring on February 15.
“Most of their victims were senior citizens. They will promise to double their money. They were taking advantage of our elders,” Mendoza said.
The suspects, on the other hand, admitted their modus operandi, saying they started doing it in 2015.
Appropriate charges will be filed against the suspects who are now detained at the Valenzuela police detention cell.