By Juan Escandor Jr.
NAGA CITY---Entrusted with a bagful of cash worth P3.4M after a treasurer withdrew the fund from the Land Bank of the Philippines branch here, her bodyguard ran away Tuesday morning (Nov. 14) with the cash intended for the Christmas bonus of municipal employees and elected officials, the police reported yesterday.
SPO2 Tobias Bongon, spokesperson of Naga City Police Office, identified the missing bodyguard as Melchor Abrazado. He was suspected of running away with the Christmas bonus of municipal employees and officials in Tinambac, Camarines Sur.
Bongon said Ma. Teresa Betito, Tinambac municipal treasurer, reported the incident almost two
hours after Abrazado disappeared after he went out of the Land Bank with the bagful of cash on the pretext that he would look for the driver of the vehicle they were riding on from their town.
Betito said she entrusted the cash to Abrazado without doubt that he would ran away with it since he had been accompanying her for several times when withdrawing cash for the local government of their town.
She said the bag was heavy with cash so she gave it to Abrazado who went out from bank first but suddenly disappeared from her sight.
Betito said when she has located the vehicle and the driver near the bank the driver told her that he did not see Abrazado.
Avoiding a scandal and thinking that he might be somewhere and would come back soon, she did not immediately report the incident to the police and instead called Tinambac Mayor Ruel Tuy who instructed them to report to the police. She said she and her two other companions, the driver and the administrative officer, frantically called up Abrazado in his cellular phone but it was unattended and later turned off.
Tuy, a first-time mayor, said Abrazado is an administrative assistant under the Office of the Mayor for about 18 years now and had served previous mayors.
He said Abrazado has no record of dishonesty that’s why he retained him in his office with his full trust.
Tuy said the family of Abrazado had been informed about the incident and a police task force was already organized to search for him.
He said 115 regular employees and the elected officials of Tinambac town are affected by the disappearance of Abrazado who presumably has their much-anticipated Christmas bonus with him.