MANILA, Philippines-From hero to villain.
A policeman who saved a house maid from being victimized by the "dugo-dugo" gang has been arrested after he took the valuables meant for the group of swindlers.
Geraldine Tamorete, 29, the helper of a businesswoman in Caloocan City, said that on Saturday, she received a call from a woman who told her that the trader, her two children and their driver were in the hospital after an accident.
The woman then ordered her to retrieve a vault in her employer's bedroom and bring it to the hospital.
"I was ordered not to tell anyone because [my employer] did not want media attention. I was told the family's phones were all with the police so I shouldn't try to contact them either," Tamorete said.
Tamorete said she took the caller's word for it because she seemed to know a lot about her and her employer and even where the vault was.
Tamorete ended up following even the unusual instructions, taking the landline off the hook so no one could call the house.
The caller, instead, contacted Tamorete on her cell phone.
After taking the steel vault from the second floor bedroom, Tamorete hailed a cab to take her to the hospital in Manila.
But the taxi driver, Hadji Heradoma of Las Piñas City, sensed something was amiss and took her to a patrolling policeman on Tayuman Street who turned out to be Police Officer 1 Dominic Lappay of the Manila Police District (MPD) Traffic Enforcement Unit.
Lappay accompanied Tamorete on the taxi ride to hospital.
He also answered her cell phone and identified himself to the caller as a policeman.
This apparently scared the caller off, because upon reaching the hospital, she no longer responded to Tamorete's texts and calls.
Tamorete got out of the cab to reload her cell phone, but upon her return, she found out that Lappay had made off with the vault.
She returned to her employer who accompanied her to the police.
A check with Senior Inspector Maying de la Cruz of the MPD Homicide Section turned up Lappay's name and on Sunday morning, he was arrested and the vault recovered.
"He said he was going to turn over the vault to Mayor Alfredo Lim on Monday but that seemed like an afterthought. He should have immediately reported it to his superior," De la Cruz said.