San Pablo City Bank Robber, Dead

LAGUNA, Philippines - One of the 3 suspects who allegedly robbed a rural bank in San Pablo City, Laguna last September 22 was killed in a shootout with police Sunday morning in the city, authorities said.

Senior Superintendent Gilbert Cruz, Laguna police director, identified the suspect as Joel Canlas, 29, a resident of Barangay San Isidro, Catanauan, Quezon.

Canlas was an alleged member of Gerona robbery holdup group.

Cruz said Canlas was tagged as one of the 3 armed men who robbed the United People's Rural Bank in M. Paulino St., Barangay 3-D in San Pablo City around 12:45 p.m.

Canlas' 2 other cohorts remain unidentified, police said.

Investigations revealed that Canlas was onboard a motorcycle when he was flagged down by police at a checkpoint in Tropical Park Subdivision in Barangay Concepcion around 2:30 a.m.

Instead of stopping, police said Canlas pulled out his caliber .38 revolver and started shooting the authorities, who returned fire, killing him instantly.

Canlas was rushed to Panlalawigan Pagamutan ng Laguna but was declared dead on arrival by attending physicians.

The robbers was able to cart away P1.5 million from the bank and escaped on board a vehicle parked a few meters away from the bank.

Sources who declined to be identified said the bank robbery could be an inside job as police were investigating one security guard assigned during the robbery.