PHILIPPINE National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) director, Brigadier General Jonnel C. Estomo, yesterday said they have stepped-up their hunt for the Philippines’ most wanted kidnappers leaving no place for them to hide in any part of the country.
“We have been ordered by PNP chief, General Archie Francisco Gamboa, to make sure that the long arms of the law will catch up with elusive members of notorious kidnapping-for-ransom gangs in the country, some of them already the subject of warrants of arrest,” the member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Tanglaw-Diwa’ Class of 1992 said.
Gen. Gamboa earlier wanted active and dismissed rogue police personnel that they will be treated as ‘ordinary criminals’ by the force and will be subjected to continuing counter-intelligence and manhunt operations and placed on common cells for criminals once arrested for engaging in illicit activities.
Last July 23, PNP-AKG operatives shot dead one of the country’s most wanted kidnappers and one of his pals following a gunbattle in San Mateo, Rizal.
Estomo said suspect Nathaniel Recto alias ‘Ton-ton,’ a known member of the notorious Cutad Kidnapping-for-Ransom Gang and a still unidentified companion exchanged fire with PNP-AKG operatives who tracked them down in Recto’s hideout in Barangay Gulod Malaya in San Mateo, Rizal.
The two suspects later fled on board a motorcycle while being pursued by AKG officers led by Colonel Edward Cutiyog until they were neutralized.
According to Estomo, his men were about to serve three warrants of arrest issued against Recto by a San Mateo, Rizal court when he and his still unidentified companion engaged the lawmen in a shootout.
Recovered from the possession of the slain suspects were one chamber-loaded caliber .45 pistol with a magazine containing several live ammunition, a loaded cal. .38 revolver, several heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected shabu and a Honda Beat motorcycle without plate number.
Estomo said Recto is the subject of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Josephine Zarate-Fernandez of the San Mateo RTC Branch 76 for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013, RA 7166 or gun ban violation and grave coercion.
“He is one of the targets of our Special Project Condor aimed at neutralizing members of the dreaded Cutad KFRG who has gained notoriety for their involvement in KFR activities in Calabarzon region and Metro Manila,” the official said.
Estomo said the suspects were believed to have snatched a victim in Biñan, Laguna and were also wanted for their role in the kidnapping-for-ransom of one Mareanne dela Rosa on March 27, 2013.
Since the year started, nearly a dozen wanted kidnappers including two Chinese nationals and some rogues in uniform have been killed in gunbattles with pursuing PNP-AKG agents across the country.
Those operations led in the safe rescue of some KFR victims following days of being held captive by the kidnappers.
Last February, PNP-AKG operatives gun down a most wanted kidnapper during a shootout in Negros Occidental. Last March, AKG officers raided the Antipolo City safehouse of a notorious organized KFR, robbery-holdup, gun-for-hire and illegal drug activities in Calabarzon region and Metro Manila triggering a shootout which led in the killing of one of the suspects.
Last May 29, a gunbattle broke out between PNP-AKG operatives and a group of heavily-armed kidnappers in San Mateo, Rizal resulting in the death of two suspects.
Last June 11, two armed ‘Chinese-looking men’ believed to be members of a KFR gang victimizing Chinese nationals in the country were shot dead in a firefight with AKG men in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Last June 25, PNP-AKG agents raided the hideouts of a notorious KFR gang in Tiaong, Quezon sparking a gunbattle which left three targets led by a rogue ex-policeman identified as ex-Patrolman Rico Gutierrez dead.
The slain suspects yielded a cache of high-powered weapons and ammunition and 100 grams of shabu worth P680,000 and several drug paraphernalia.
Last July 4, combined PNP-AKG and PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (PNP-IMEG) agents under Brig. Gen. Ronald O. Lee shot dead two wanted kidnappers led by a dismissed rogue Patrolman Ralph Rafael Maray during a firefight in Binangonan, Rizal.
Maray was dismissed for a robbery-extortion case filed against him by the forerunner of the PNP-IMEG, the now defunct PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force.
Three days later, PNP-AKG operatives put an end to the checkered career of a most wanted kidnapper-drug dealer in Central Visayas after he traded shots with them in Minglanilla, Cebu.
Last July 12, another elusive kidnapper was killed in a shootout with AKG men in Panabo City in Davao del Norte.