PHILIPPINE National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) director, Colonel Jonnel C. Estomo yesterday told the Journal Group they are aiming to neutralize more kidnapping-for-ransom gangs and other emerging kidnapping syndicates in the country apart from sending more captured kidnappers to life in jail thru their partnership with the Department of Justice and the victims who have agreed to show their faces to convict their tormentors.
The bemedalled member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw Diwa’ Class of 1992 last week replaced the now-retired Brigadier General Glenn G. Dumlao as head of the PNP-AKG with the tough challenge to surpass if not equal the success of the latter.
The new PNP-AKG director was greeted with the good news that AKG officers have secured the conviction of a woman they arrested in April 2016 for kidnapping a 9-year old boy in Tabuk City in Kalinga and demanding P100,000 from his parents in exchange for his safe release.
Loida Duclan Annaway, 42, a resident of Barangay Purok 4, East Gibraltar, Baguio City was convicted in connection with the kidnapping-for-ransom of Angelo Aligo, a resident of Nadnaden Dagupan Centro in Tabuk City, Kalinga province on April 19, 2016, said the official in a report to PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde.
“She was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt by the court which found as very credible all the witnesses presented by the prosecution including the testimonies made by our agents who arrested her,” said Estomo.
The PNP-AKG director said Judge Roberto P. Buneventura of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 86 meted the life term on the suspect who was also ordered to pay P300,000 in moral damages to the victim’s family.
According to Estomo, their records showed that around 9:50 p.m. of April 19, 2016, the boy’s father Cid Aligo reported to the Tabuk City Police Station the mysterious disappearance of his son the night before.
In turn, the Tabuk City police coordinated their investigation into the incident with the PNP-AKG after they failed to locate the victim.
Estomo said their investigation showed that around 12:45 p.m. of April 19, 2016, the victim’s family received a text message from an unknown sender who demanded P100,000 for the boy’s safe liberty.
He said that PNP-AKG operatives monitored a series of negotiations between the boy’s family and the text sender and even investigated a sales staff of SM Rosales, Pangasinan who admitted that the suspect was the one who received the money from an LBC branch.
Estomo said that in the afternoon of April 19, PNP-AKG agents safely rescued the young boy and arrested the suspect inside SM North EDSA in Quezon City.
Annaway’s husband and co-accused Francis Annaway was acquitted of the charges after it was found out by the court that he really had no knowledge of the kidnapping-for-ransom case.
The PNP-AKG director admitted that apart from fighting KFR gangs in their list, they are now faced with a new scourge: casino-related kidnapping-for-ransom cases in the country wherein foreign victims have been forced to pay billions of pesos to their compatriots-turned kidnappers.
Last week, PNP-AKG agents raided the safehouses of Filipino cohorts of a Chinese-led KFR, one of the targets identified as Magdaleno Pacia Jr., a former member of the Southern Police District who was dismissed from the PNP service in April last year for robbery and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
The suspects are wanted for their involvement in the kidnapping-for-ransom of Chinese nationals Guo Faquiang, Zhu Fangmei, Li Chao, Zhang Zhen and Lu Renxian last January 14.
The kidnappers demanded a three billion Yuan ransom for the safe release of the victims. One of them identified as Zhu Fangmein died of injuries he suffered while under captivity.
The PNP-AKG is also investigating several similar KFR cases in which Chinese-led kidnappers demanded ransom ranging from P3 billion to 100 million Renminbi from their captives.
The PNP-AKG is pushing for legislations that will make the offense a very serious one since it is giving the country a negative image abroad.