MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) announced today that members of the notorious Martilyo Gang, who is behind a series of jewelry heist in various SM malls, has been let off the hook after the group agreed to return 40 million pesos worth of jewelry that they had stolen throughout the years.
Senior Superintendent Chito Morales said a special panel tasked to conduct a preliminary investigation on the charges recommended that the member of Martilyo Gang be granted immunity in exchange for their testimony regarding security lapses in various SM malls that allowed them to pull off their heists successfully.
“In a 6-page immunity agreement forged between the PNP and Martilyo Gang, the gang was granted immunity from prosecution in the said [jewelry heist] cases in exchange for undertaking to testify on their personal knowledge and details of the alleged lapses in security subject to terms and conditions of the immunity agreement,” he said.
He said the gang had already returned the P40 million worth of jewelry they said they took during their spree.
A member of the group earlier told the PNP that they were able to pull off successive operations because of the apparent lack of action taken by the management of SM Malls after every successful heist.
“Parang wala naman silang paki sa kapakanan ng mga mamimili (It’s like they don’t care about the safety of the shoppers),” said Marty Lopez. “Maghihigpit nga sila sa umpisa, pero pagkatapos ng ilang linggo, balik na naman sa dati (They will tighten security at first, but after a few weeks, it’s back to normal)!”
Lopez added that SM could’ve stand for “Sexy Mambabatas(Lawmaker)” because it doesn’t care about it’s shoppers’ safety the same way that lawmakers doesn’t care about the Filipinos’ taxes.
“Oo, maaaring miyembro nga kami ng Martilyo Gang, pero mukhang mas matigas pa sa martilyo ang ulo ng SM management (Yes, we might be members of Martilyo Gang, but it looks like SM management is much more hard-headed than a hammer)”.
They also denied the “ningas kugon(spasmodic)” allegations hurled at them by the group, and said that they had taken extra precautions to ensure the safety of the shoppers.
“We now don’t allow, hammers AND pipe wrench to be carried inside the mall premises,” said SM Head of Security Harry Salamangka. “Our security personnel has been trained extensively to detect these hardware tools and to prevent them from being used maliciously.”
Salamangka refrained from commenting whether their personnel are also extensively trained to detect firearms.
Nonetheless, Salamangka is still “very confident” that the mall will end up victorious even if it is obvious that the group’s allegations are true.
“I am very confident that we will be victorious in the end, and that the Martilyo Gang will crumble in the cross-examination,” he said.
“The message that we are sending to the public is that it’s ok to steal just as long as we return it afterwards and spill the beans?”
Stay tuned for further updates.