HOW SAFE are cars at the carpark building?

Students from the Conservatory of Music lost two guitars left inside a vehicle parked at the second level of the private multi-deck parking building last Sept. 17.

According to the police report filed at the Sampaloc Police Station, the two Music students parked their Honda Civic at 10 a.m. that day upon arriving in UST. One of them returned to the car at 2 p.m. and found the lock of the door near the driver’s seat broken. Their instruments, a Rockstar Base Guitar and an Ovation Acoustic Guitar placed inside the trunk, were missing.

The guitars were worth P47,000.

The carpark is managed by Selegna Holdings Corp., which has a 15-year build-operate-transfer contract with UST and has its own security personnel, provided by Spartan Security Agency, Inc.

PO1 Arvin Elma, who is handling the case, said the victims immediately reported the theft to carpark management. Carpark security identified the guard on duty as Miguel Acupan, who was allegedly unaware of the incident.

“Kinausap ko si Mr. Acupan, sabi niya wala naman daw siyang napansin noong time na`yun. Pinadiretso niya ako sa UST Security Office sa Grandstand. Na-disappoint ako kasi wala silang ginawang aksyon within the day,” one of the victims told the Varsitarian. The two students asked not to be named.

“Pinagawan namin ng police report `yung incident para makarating sa [University administrators] at saka para hindi na maulit,” said the student interviewed for this story.

He added that they would seek legal remedies against Selegna.

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“Plano naming idiretso sa court para kahit paano mabawi namin `yung pera. Kasi [carpark] `yung liable sa incident. Kahit hindi namin makuha yung gamit, at least `yung gastos para sa lock namin [at] sa dalawang instruments.”

The student said he had been parking his vehicle in the carpark since 2011. But because of the incident, he said he would avoid parking there again. “‘Pag nakakuha na kami ng UST sticker, hindi na kami magpa-park diyan.”

Police suspect members of the “Bukas Kotse Gang” behind the theft. “[A]ng tinitignan muna nila ay kung may makukuha sila sa loob [ng kotse]. ‘Pag wala naman, di naman nila bubuksan ‘yun. Kaya ang paalala, ‘wag mag-iiwan ng gamit [sa kotse],” said SPO1 Rey Joel Villanueva.

Not the first case

It was not the first such case in the carpark. In September 2012, a junior architecture student parked on the second floor before buying food with five friends. When they got back to the car, they found the window of the left rear side smashed, and the iPhone of one of his friends missing. The student said he immediately went to the security guard, who claimed he did not notice any suspicious activity in the area.

The student said he tried to complain to the management but the security office of carpark did not give the management’s address. He said lack of progress discouraged him from pursuing the complaint. “Dalawang beses silang hindi sumipot sa meeting kaya ‘di na lang kami nag-follow up kasi baka mapag-initan pa ako,” the student said.

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The student noted that there was only one guard per floor and not enough lighting. “Ngayon, sa P. Noval na lang ako nagpa-park kasi kahit manakawan ako d’un, mas maiintindihan ko kasi risky naman talaga d’un,” the student said.

Last June, engineering student Bernadeth Cui lost the spare tire in her vehicle. The carpark, however, claimed there was no record of Cui having a spare tire. Still, three carpark security personnel were suspended for two weeks.

The Varsitarian sought comments from the carpark security office and UST Security Office Chief Joseph Badinas, but they declined. J.C.R Obice and Gena Myrtle P. Terre


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