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Friday, May 30, 2008 - Page updated at 03:20 AM

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5 charged in bloody Philippine robbery

MANILA, Philippines —

Philippine police filed charges Friday against five men accused in the killing of 10 people two weeks ago in the country's bloodiest bank robbery.

Those facing robbery-with-homicide charges include one of the bank's security guards, a former security guard from another company and an ex-soldier, said Senior Superintendent Felipe Rojas, police chief of Laguna province south of Manila.

He said all three are currently in custody and have denied any involvement in the robbery.

Two other suspects also face robbery-with-homicide charges, but are still at large, Rojas said. Another suspect was killed Thursday in a shootout with police, he said.

Rojas said investigators believe several other people, including a woman, were involved in the heist, but they have yet to be identified.

A security guard, a depositor and all eight employees of a Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. branch were shot in a gangland-style execution May 16 in Cabuyao township in Laguna.

Investigators said all the victims except the bank manager were shot in the back of the head.

"In previous bank robberies, some were killed in hostage situations ... but this time they were defenseless and killed mercilessly," Rojas said.

Rojas said earlier that everyone in the bank was killed because they knew "one or two of the robbers."

The bank said the robbers made off with about $206,890.

The bank's vice president, Edwin Ermita, said the company "is glad that people are being charged for the incident."

"I believe the police have enough evidence against these people ... and hopefully the other suspects will be caught," he said.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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