PNP chief turns over PHP1.2-M ransom to family of kidnap victim

MANILA-- Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Monday turned over the PHP1.2-million ransom to the family of a kidnap victim.

In a press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Dela Rosa presented to members of the media the businessman, who was a victim of a kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) group in Bicol Region and parts of Southern Tagalog after he was rescued from his kidnappers.

"I am pleased to announce that kidnapped businessman Francis Leo Sta. Maria Maulion of Calabanga, Camarines Sur, has been safely reunited with his family since his abduction last November 23, 2016," Dela Rosa said.

Maulion was freed in a successful operation launched jointly by the Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) headed by Senior Supt. Glenn Dumlao and the Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) headed by Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe in several locations in Camarines Sur and Albay provinces.

"We have in custody several suspects who participated in holding Mr. Maulion for ransom including the ransom-taker himself who were among eight persons who engaged our police forces in an encounter at the Banga Caves in Ragay, Camarines Sur during the ransom pay-off last March 6, 2017," Dela Rosa said.

Aside from the recovery of several high-powered firearms from the suspects, the PNP operatives also recovered intact the PHP1.2-million ransom paid by the victim's family to the kidnappers.

"This successful anti-kidnapping operation was made possible thru the concerted efforts and perfect coordination by the PNP Units and LGUs involved, and the cooperation of the victim's family," Dela Rosa said.

The PNP had to withhold the information over the last six days because they did not want any premature disclosure to jeopardize follow-up operations against the remaining members of the kidnapping syndicate.

"As we speak, our operatives remain engaged in follow-up operations against the kidnap gang's negotiator who made the ransom demands and other key players," Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa presented to the media the five arrested suspects, identified as Gerry Mancera, 46, barangay captain of Barangay Maninila, Camalig, Albay; Jefferson Cuachin, 26, caretaker; Prudencio Ruiz, 56, caretaker; Cesar Garcia, 47, barangay tanod, all from Barangay Maninila, Camalig, Albay; and the ransom-taker Joven Ortiz, 34, of Barangay Ibiawan, Infanta, Quezon.

For his part, AKG director Senior Supt. Glen Dumlao said the AKG is still conducting follow up operations to capture all the remaining members of the kidnap for ransom group.

Source: Philippines News Agency