Once upon a time, a notorious robber/rapist was roaming around, targeting small dental clinics in the nation's capital.
His modus operandi was to have his teeth checked out and wait for an opportunity to rob the dentist and her assistant. Afterward, he would tie-up and gag both women and would proceed to steal their valuables together with his accomplice.
Unfortunately for his victims, robbing them was only the first part of their ordeal. The perpetrator would then rape and abuse his helpless victims.
The serial rapist/robber's name is Albert Galang de la Cruz. He had been arrested before from 2004-2009 due to robberies. Authorities believe that he only started robbing dental clinics and raping dentists after his release from prison.
How did the authorities capture De la Cruz and his accomplice?
In 2011, twenty three robberies and rapes happened in small dental clinics all over the metro. Plenty of victims came forward, which led the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) to seek the police's attention to exert more effort toward apprehending the suspects.
According to the victims, De la Cruz would pose as a patient and then announce the heist using a semi-automatic pistol. He would tie up his victims using a plastic straw or masking tape, strip them of their money and valuables before molesting or performing sexual acts in front of them.
While he was at-large, authorities found out that De la Cruz had utilized numerous aliases to protect himself from possible capture. He used the names such as Alvin, Aldrin, Alex, Alexander, Jeffrey, Jason, and Jake, and the surnames of Galang, Musngi, Maliwat, Gapeon, and Santos.
On August 24, 2011, after an intense surveillance operation conducted by the police, they captured De la Cruz's accomplice, Ronald Policarpio, found in Quezon City. He cooperated with the police and told them about De la Cruz's whereabouts.
A few days later, based on the tip Policarpio gave to the police, they finally managed to capture De la Cruz at his home in Las Pinas City. However, he tried to evade arrest by pulling out a fan knife and a tear gas canister. The authorities overpowered him and had successfully caught him. The police also found a plastic bag containing crystal meth or "shabu."
De la Cruz admitted to robbing 19 out of the 23 robberies being attached to him. Though, he denied allegations that he sexually abused his victims. He told reporters, "I only rob my victims. I don't have to rape or sexually molest them."
Meanwhile, De la Cruz's cohort, Policarpio, admitted joining De la Cruz in two robberies against dentists. On the other hand, some of their victims have successfully identified him.
During tactical interrogation, De la Cruz said he got mad at medical professionals after one of his friends died in his arms in a hospital where he brought him. He said he targeted dental clinics instead of hospitals because it was easier.
After De la Cruz and Policarpio's arrest, female dentists felt a sigh of relief and were delighted with the news.
The impact of the perpetrators' crimes has led to preventive measures like the deployment of CCTV cameras in dental clinics to preempt other attacks against dentists, especially women.
In 2012, a Manila trial court had finally sentenced De la Cruz to a maximum of 40 years in prison for the crimes he committed to a dentist and her assistant. He was also ordered to return the jewelry and valuables he took from his victims or pay them P193,500. He was also asked to pay his rape victim P75,000 as civil indemnity, P75,000 for moral damages, and P30,000 as exemplary damages. The judge also ruled that until De la Cruz has fully paid all the damages, he will be charged an interest rate of six percent per year.
De La Cruz is also reportedly facing a total of 23 similar cases in Las Pinas, Quezon City, Bulacan, Mandaluyong City, and in Parañaque City.
Unfortunately, he never lived up to pay for his sins as he was stabbed to death by a fellow inmate on March 7, 2013. De la Cruz was brought to the nearest hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
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