The Security office identified a 30-year-old PPO contract worker at Visayas State University (VSU) as the culprit in the reported stealing incidents at Calachuchi Dormitory and Camia Dormitory, following a self-confession during the investigation conducted by the Security Office, as per the incident report on March 24. 

The security office received information about “stolen objects being disposed” through an informer who received the alleged stolen items, along with physical correlations obtained from CCTV footages, which led to the identification of the culprit. The culprit, questioned by the security officers, initially denied his connection to the said incidents, emphasizing that his “presence in VSU is purely for livelihood earning a living for the good of his family.” He later on confessed to stealing from Calachuchi and Camia dormitories. 


The office is also investigating the potential connection of the suspect to previous similar incidents reported on the main campus including the stolen mountain bike from the Zea Mays dormitory, missing smartphones from high school students, a P20,000 cash and a cellphone from a guest at the Apartelle.


In an interview with AMARANTH, Dr. Julius Abela, head of the Security Office,  said that they have scoured possible locations for pawning of the valuable items and have so far recovered three (3) smartphones.  


No security staff is a peeping Tom, says Abela


Mr. Abela also rebuked the claims circulating that a member of their security staff is involved in the voyeuristic incident at the Everlasting Dormitory stating that the time the security staff registered in the log book and the CCTV footage showed only a little time difference, which he says proves that the security officer is not the culprit. Abela instead correlated the physical features of the identified theft culprit from those found in the CCTV footages as the same suspect of the peeping incident. He then later stated that theft might be the primary motive of the suspect.


“Ang security ug ang tao [identified culprit] kay  parehas ug porma, mao to ni ingon si attorney nga e-verify ninyo ang pagsud sa security guard sa CCTV. Ang pagpagpang-lili alas dies sa gabie, alas dies y media, ni ingon si attorney para way makapamakak, e check ang pag-abot nila sa CCTV, ug ang ang ilang CCTV diha nga time ug sa log book gamay ra nga deperensiya sa minutes, buot pasabot nga kanang ang kadtong estudyante nga nagpasumangil nga nangli-li ang security guard, de security guard ang nang-lili kay ang time diha sa CCTV ug time sa logbook, gamay ra kaayog minutes na deperensiya. Kana siyang tawhana [identified culprit] mao nay gidudahan nako nga nang-lili ngadto kay siya may nangawat sa cellphone ngadto sa Calachuchi,” Abela said.


Amidst the recent theft and other incidents driving security and safety concerns among the university stakeholders and immediate communities, Abela maintains the position of the security office in the performance of their mandated tasks. 


“Kami, bali namong pagpaningkamot sa paghatag ug serbisyo sa mga estudyante, usahay gani ako man gani sila[security staff] pa-overtime-on wa’y bayad, usahay maka-ingon ko nga makaluya ang trabaho pero ug maluya pud siguro mi, mosamot ug kadako ang problema. Ako na silang ingnon nga sagdi nalang ninyo, total basta ang importante, heart and mind mo na nag serbisyo sa VSU,” Abela lamented.


Bureaucracies, other offices hinder Security Office’s investigation


Dr. Abela then reveals that the delays of their investigations are sometimes due to their office not having access to the CCTV cameras and the bureaucracy of the Data Privacy Act of 2012. The office has  to request access of the footages to the Information and Communication Technology Management Center (ICTMC).


“Wala silay total or complete action nga makatabang sa amoa. Kay madugay man ang pagkuha sa ebidensiya, example sa pag backtrack. Imbes gabie nahitabo, pagkabuntag mo request mi ug backtracking, mo file pa man mi adto ug form, paghuman ug form pagkasunod adlaw pa man mapirmahan, ma-release. Kung sensitive ang ebidensiya nakalayas na. Mao sige ko ug request nila nga ang CCTV footage ug ang backtracking naa unta diri namo. Ug mo ingon sila nga wa silay salig namo, mao nay problema, kay imbes ma-actionan dayon, dI ma action-an. Example anang nangawat, dugay namo nasakpan kay dugay man gi-release sa amo ang CCTV footage.”


Abella further emphasized that if their office has direct control of the CCTV, the process of the investigation would be faster. 


“Pag ngari nila atong sabado ug kami ang nag control ato, pagka Domingo nadakop na unta tong tawhana, kay sabado gud sila sa buntag ni ari, pagkuhaman nahatag sa amoa ang CCTV footage, lunes na sa hapon kay mag papirma pa man ming attorney pagka lunes sa buntag.”


Abela reveals that the ICTMC and the Legal office are “hesitant” to coordinate with their office.


“Naay coordination pero hesitant. Hesitant sila nga mo hatag sa amo kay ilang kuan kay di lagi mi “expert”, basin kuno ug masipyat. Bisan di mi expert, mo tamod mi sa atong data privacy kay kami may pwede mapriso ana kung magpataka mi,” Abela added.


Abela appeals for a full cooperation from the ICTMC and the Legal Office for a faster investigation and proceedings of the incidents necessary to resolve issues. The Security Office formally known as the University Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Security Services Office (UDRRMSSO), according to Abela, is just recently established, but  lamented that complete cooperation from different entities within the university is essential in their function.


“Ako naman sila gi ingnan daan sa una, dapat naa tay proper coordination, immediate action sa mga panghitabo. Pero wa man jud mi mahimo kay mo ingon lagi data privacy, mo request pa gihapon jud. Ambot kung unsaon na pagsulbad nila kay data privacy, pero pag matagaan nami CCTV de jud namo buhian ug dele masulbad ang kaso.”


Abela says Security Office is understaffed; asks Viscans to be more vigilant


Aside from the access to CCTV request, the security office has also revealed in a previous interview their limitations as an office including the limited number of roving guards. In this recent interview, Abela announced the deployment of additional roving guards on the Lower Campus and Upper Campus for night shifts around the female dormitories. 


“Mao nga de pud sa tanan ang security visible kay usa ra siya nga roving guard. Karon naay amo additional nga roving guard pang-gabie para sa babaye nga dormitory. Diri sa lower campus naa nay additional nga roving guard nga siya na jud mo bantay diha sa mga dormitory na ladies dorm nato ug additional nga roving guard para sa pambabae ngadto sa sampa, ilang-ilang, mariposa. Bag-o palang siya na-aproban. Duha sila nga bag-o na roving guard, usa sa upper campus, ug sa lower, especially sa mga ladies dorm.”


In response to the recurring disturbances in VSU dormitories [that] heighten security concerns amid Centennial celebrations, Abela urged VSU stakeholders to remain “careful” and vigilant with their belongings and to report “suspicious” individuals inside the campus. 


“Usa ra akong gihangyo sa community nato, sa ato community, kinahanglan pud sila nga mag extra careful, double sila pagbantay sa ila mga belongings kay ang mga tao man gud diri sa ato, in and out na kay na open na baya ang ato flower and garden show.”


Abela further reminded the dorm occupants to lock their doors, especially at night, and never be too reliant even if they are in groups.


“Ang tanan nga mga parte sa VSU labi na ron nga naa natay uma-abot nga centennial anniversary, kung naa gani mga kaduduhan na tao or de nila kaila nga naka sud ari sa VSU, mag report lang sila dayon ngari sa guard post 1 or sa market kay dako-dako baya ni ato area, siguro kamo mismo nakakakita baya mo gamay mi ug tao. Sa ato pud mga estudyante, dapat ila mga gamit de nila pasagdan, dapat makita jud nila,” Abela reminded.


VSU ramps up security force; UDRRMSSO taps government agencies


Abela further assured the VSU stakeholders with their safety and security amidst centennial celebration in cooperation with other security linkages.


“To our students, faculty, and staff, especially that we are now starting to celebrate our coming centennial anniversary, on behalf of the University Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and Security and Safety Office (UDRRMOSSO), we would like to give you the full assurance and full safety in whole VSU community,” Abela said.


Abela revealed that the area is now heavily guarded with additional security force from the Philippine National Police (PNP), and other linkages, such as the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to assist in safeguarding the university’s perimeters until the last day of the centennial celebrations.


“We are giving you our full assurance on your safety in cooperation with the present administration under Dr. Prose Ivy Yepes. Thank you, and rest assured that we are always with you 24-7,” Abela said.



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