By Bryan Ezra Gonzales
Investigation on the robbery incident involving Political Science professor Perlita Frago-Marasigan is still ongoing, according to Atty. John Baroña, Acting Chief Security Officer of the UP Diliman Police (UPDP).
Baroña added that Frago is now in good condition.
UPDP is closely coordinating with the Quezon City Police Department and other police stations, he said. The suspects remain at large.
“We advise the public to not speculate on the identity and whereabouts of the suspects so that it won’t interfere police investigation,” said Baroña.
With fewer people in the campus, the semestral break provides criminals more opportunities to operate within campus grounds, Baroña said, as they are less likely to be apprehended.
According to the UPDP, the incident happened around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Palma Hall (AS) Parking Lot. Prof. Frago was about to enter her car when three men attacked her, handcuffed her hands and feet and shoved her at the backseat of her own car.
The assailants forcibly took her iPhone 5, wristwatch, wedding ring, ATM card and driver’s license.
Frago’s attackers drove her car around the campus and stopped by the a nearby Landbank branch to withdraw P29,000 from Frago’s account.
The men drove the car back to the parking lot and escaped.
Despite being left with her handcuffs, Frago was able to find her way to the Department of Political Science and reported the incident to her colleagues. She sustained no injuries, according to Baroña.
Prior to the break, the UPDP recorded 17 in-campus crimes from Sept. 22 to Oct. 7.
On Oct. 8 to 15 – the first week of sembreak – six crimes were reported, mostly cases of robbery, theft, harassment and vehicular accidents.
A 2009 graduate thesis by Prof. Alice Morta identified six crime hotspots in UP Diliman: the areas of the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice, Faculty Center and College of Arts and Letters, College of Engineering, Vinzons Hall and its tambayan areas, Palma Hall and the AS Parking Lot, where Frago was recently attacked.
News of the incident spread through an announcement made by Dean Michael Tan of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, which circulated on Facebook. The incident was relayed to Tan by Department of Political Science Chairperson Ruth Lusterio-Rico.
Tan informed Chancellor Caesar Saloma and recommended the installation of additional lampposts in the area and additional patrol members from the Special Services Brigade (SSB). He also asked Saloma to tackle the issue of street children loitering in the campus.
UPDP and SSB work hand-in-hand to ensure campus security. But due to the UPDP’s limited number of personnel, security guards are employed by the University in rotating shifts from two private agencies, each assigned to cover certain campus clusters. The SSB, in turn, patrols the campus grounds.
The UP Diliman Safety and Welfare Committee is now studying the implementation of new long-term policies to improve campus security.
The UPDP is currently in a transition phase, following the death of former Chief Security Officer Prof. Eduardo Dagdag. Baroña was appointed to the post Friday.