Friday, July 1, 2011

GASAN POLICE FOILS NEW ATTEMPT TO STEAL TREASURE

Following a brief lull, all it took was a dark night, men with firearms, a roaring vessel, shipping ropes, police and barangay officials responding, and curious residents roused from their sleep in the wee morning hours for a new episode to unfold on this treasure-hunting story that many, still in their sorry state of denial, could not accept as happening in Marinduque.

Three armed men were invited for questioning early yesterday morning by police offficers led by P/Insp. Russel Dennis Reburiano. The police responded to a call made by Bahi barangay captain Larry Soberano who, together with his barangay tanod decided to check an unusually loud mechanical sound coming from the direction of an earlier identified treasure site. The site is located in a shallow wawa, estuary.

The barangay officials accosted those men who were acting suspiciously on the beach area very close to the actual site but were told by the men to leave the area at once: “Kap, umalis na kayo, kami na ang bahala dito”, one of the men said. Two introduced themselves to the barangay captain as “Castillo” and “Eduardo”.

Upon questioning at the station, the three disclosed to Reburiano that they were coast guards assigned to the nearby Cawit Port. Checking with the Station Commander of the Philippine Coast Guard in Lucena City that holds jurisdiction over coast guard personnel in Cawit, they were identified and their last names recorded as Laureles, Baldago and Cabrera.

Reburiano said that due to zero visibility during the early morning hours his men did not consider getting closer to the treasure site as there could be others deployed there, that if also armed, might lead to a shootout. A roaring sea vessel, apparently a tugboat that had no illumination at all, therefore not visible, sped away before it could be identified. Morning light revealed a long trapa, heavy propylene shipping rope about 2 inches in diameter, tied to the supposed treasure object still lying submerged under water in the estuary.

That treasure is now being described as "an oval-shaped hardened concrete" that did not budge an inch during the attempt to recover it. The other end of the shipping rope ran to the sea and was retrieved easily, having been cut off by those other men onboard the vessel (police and barangay referred to the vessel as a barge), that disappeared into the night.


The coil of shipping rope left behind at the site is now in police custody. The three held for questioning were released at around 12:00 p.m. yesterday.

It will be recalled that the first attempt to recover the treasure only last month was halted following official intervention conducted by the Sangguniang Bayan of Gasan and municipal mayor, Victoria A. Lao-Lim. Said attempt involved the use of heavy equipment owned by the provincial government of Marinduque. The municipal council issued a resolution stating that stipulations and conditions pertaining to treasure hunting must be adhered to by all concerned and that barangay and municipal jurisdiction and rightful claim must be respected.

Lao-Lim had earlier directed P/Insp. Reburiano to vigilantly keep watch over such treasures for protection and preservation before they are “laid waste by vagabonds and illegal treasure hunters”.


Trapa, rope left behind by the vessel that fled from site

Susong Dalaga Hill

Susong Dalaga Hill
Susong Dalaga Hill from Bagtasan isthmus

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