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Girl, 9, returns money believed to be part of the P1.5M loot from a Japanese national

By Eddie O. Barrita

CEBU CITY, Aug. 28 –- Kathlene Taypin, a nine-year-old elementary school pupil in Barangay Malhiao, Badian, Cebu could have been P50,000 richer.

But Taypin turned over to the Badian Police Station the money she found in a grassy area near her school last Thursday.

The third grader had no knowledge the money was believed to be part of the loot suspected thieves stole from a Japanese national in Lapu-Lapu City.

Last Wednesday morning, Shikatsu Hirata discovered his house in Barangay Basak was broken into by burglars, who took a total of P1.5 million and other valuables from him.

Hirata believed security guard Jerry Senabrea, 31, Limbert Medena, 18, and a certain “Ricky,” who was later identified as Heracleo Palagteosa, took part in the robbery since they had gone missing after the incident.

PO1 Michael Agusto of Lapu-Lapu City Police Office said that Hirata is a spa owner and has been living in the barangay for two months now.

Acting Lapu-Lapu City Police Director Mariano Natuel said Hirata’s house could have been looted at past 3 a.m.

He said a team from the Theft and Robbery Section was immediately sent to Badian to track down the suspects.

”We are tailing them using the information we have for now,” he said.

If Taypin did not find the money, it could have gone to the hands of unscrupulous people, said P03 Joel Caballero of the Badian Police Station.

When her class was about to start in Malhiao Elementary School, Taypin reportedly had the urge to relieve herself.

She went to a grassy area near her school and was terrified upon seeing bundles of money scattered on the grassy lot.

”She was afraid. She even covered the money with grass,” Caballero said.

Taypin then told her classmates and they all went to inform their adviser, Geraldine Nepomoceno, about the money.

Nepomoceno then reported the matter to the school’s officer-in-charge, Aurelia Cansico.

When Cansico called the Badian Police Station, she was shocked to learn the money was left by a robbery suspect, Palagteosa, who is from Malhiao.

Caballero said the money could have been left by Palagteosa after he was pursued by operatives of Badian police and Lapu-Lapu City police.

Neighbors confirmed the suspect had gone home.

Caballero said Taypin must be commended for her honesty.

”I really thanked the child,” he said.

Cebu Provincial Police Office Director Erson Digal told reporters he would ask Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to commend Taypin for her honesty.

”I hope there would be more children like her,” Digal said. (PNA) scs/EB/re

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