By William Casis FilAm Star Correspondent
To avert robberies in over 500 banks and pawnshops in Manila, Mayor Francisco Domogoso a.k.a Isko Moreno will ask the Manila City Council to pass an ordinance seeking to ban the wearing of ball caps, helmets, sunglasses and face masks while entering said establishments.
He said anything that covers the face or hides the identity of a person would be prohibited in the coming months.
“Those entering banks or pawnshops should remove these (covers) that can conceal the identity of a person,” said Moreno.
He cited the need for an ordinance to exact punishment on violators. He said this would also ensure that people entering the bank would strictly adhere to it.
“The closure of a bank can be made a punishment in case of violation,” Moreno said as he put up a PHP1 million bounty for information that would lead to the arrest of the suspect.
He lamented the uncooperative personnel of Metrobank, Binondo branch which was held up by five unidentified suspects shortly before it opened last July 11.
He also questioned the bank’s chief of security who claimed he was a former policeman when he refused to allow responding policemen to enter the bank.
He said the bank chief of security, whom he did not identify, even invoked a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) circular in barring the police from conducting an investigation.
Although the responding policemen arrived in the bank premises two minutes after the bank robbery, they were allowed entry only after two hours following the arrival of the Manila Mayor.
“No (matter what) rule, even BSP’s, cannot intervene in police operation or investigation. If you do not cooperate, especially when we have doubts in our mind, kailangan ma-erase ang doubts ng police sa initial na impormasyon,” said Moreno as he warned those who obstructed the probe can be liable.
He likewise questioned the timing of the robbery — the robbers entered the before banking hours. However, police officers were not allowed to enter because of bank security rules.
He expressed hope all other banks would learn a lesson from the Metrobank Binondo robber.
“In two minutes, our policemen were there. But nobody wanted to talk. They remained silent, (invoking) bank protocol,” a dismayed Domogoso said.
He said the call for police assistance was received at 9:18 a.m. and the Manila Police District policemen were there 9:20 a.m.
He also attributed police’s “quick action” to the clearing operations of the major thoroughfares in the city, carried out immediately after he took the mayor’s post.
But Domogoso maintained had the bank personnel immediately testified, the responding policemen could have bagged them.
He acknowledged that it’s difficult to get through the Del Pan bridge because of the heavy trucks.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto noted that Domogoso is the glowing “Exhibit A” of the reality that many of the country’s problems can be solved without having to rewrite the Constitution.
“A change of plans, vision and management style will do wonders and spark change immediately, rather than the untested benefits that Charter change promises to bring,” said Recto.
“It seems that more progress can be wrought by seriously implementing whatever existing laws there are than in rewriting the basic law of the land later,” he added.
On the other hand, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said politicians like Isko make him “look forward to retirement.”
“I hope that I am not speaking too soon. As long as we see the emergence of new leaders like Mayor Isko Moreno, we can look forward to retirement and continue dreaming big,” he said.
“Let us pray that he will not be eaten by the system that consumed many others before him,” said Lacson.