09 September 2014

So, They Were Policemen After All

EDSA Abduction
The viral photo that made the rounds in social media last week (above), showing several men aiming what looked like guns at a vehicle on EDSA, is finally solved.

Authorities have confirmed the it was a clear case of abduction involving policemen from La Loma, Quezon City.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas says that the rescued victim was a businessman from Davao City who had money with him the day he was kidnapped.

Eastern Police District (EPD) Director Chief Supt. Abelardo Villacorta added during a press conference that at least 9 policemen were behind the incident, a photo of which captured the attention of netizens.

Abduction Van
Roxas said that one of the suspects, a policeman, was arrested in Manila last 7 September 2014, while follow-up operations are ongoing on the other suspects, who are also believed to be policemen.

A Toyota Hi-Ace van, which was used by the suspects, was recovered and is now under the custody of the Mandaluyong City Police.

In the viral photo, a Honda Civic, gray Toyota Hi-Ace, and black Toyota Fortuner were seen boxing in a white Toyota Fortuner along EDSA-Ortigas area. Armed men were also seen surrounding the white Fortuner, pointing guns at those on board.

Villacorta said Chief Inspector Joseph De Vera of La Loma Police was traced as the owner of a Toyota Hi-Ace van with conduction sticker YF 9767.

The Honda Civic car seen in the photo, meanwhile, was traced to a dismissed police officer, former Insp. Marco Polo Estrera.

Villacorta said De Vera tagged Estrera, Senior Inspector Oliver Villanueva, PO2 Mark de Paz, PO2 Ebonn Decatoria, PO2 Jonathan Rodriguez, SPO1 Ramil Hachero, PO2 Jerome Datinguinoo, and PO2 Weavin Masa as his cohorts.

Quezon City Police District chief Richard Albano said aside from De Vera, Rodriguez has also been arrested. The rest of the policemen are now considered on absence without leave (AWOL).

The white Fortuner was traced to a certain Maguidala Mamaruga Nasser of Lanao del Sur by Task Force Wack-Wack – which was formed to solve the case. It was Nasser who revealed to the authorities that the people on board the white Fortuner were victims of abduction and robbery.

The source of the photo, who requested anonymity, said it happened near a Shell gasoline station.

Details remain scarce on how the rescue was made, but the source said no ransom was paid in exchange for the victim's freedom. Moreover, police have yet to recover the other vehicles involved in the road incident.

There was also rumor that spread online claiming that the incident is connected to a kidnapping of a student from the Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA). However, this was not confirmed and some netizens claim that this is just a spam intended to mislead the public.