MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2) - Rolito Go, who was convicted for the death of a college student in a road rage incident in 1991, has gone missing and may have been kidnapped, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima confirmed to reporters that Go has been unaccounted for at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) since 11:30 last night during the inmates' head count.
"A search was immediately conducted within the NBP... futile yung search... He was last seen doon sa Ina ng Awa Church located inside the reservation kasi doon daw palagi dini-dressing, 'di ba may surgical wound itong si Rolito Go?" De Lima said.
Go is now a minimum security inmate after having spent more than 18 years in jail for the murder of engineering student Eldon Maguan in 1991.
He reports daily in the Ina ng Awa church as part of his responsibilities. He is suffering from colon cancer.
Go's nephew, Clemence Yu, is also unaccounted for, de Lima said.
Yu, a nurse, regularly dresses Go's wound at the church.
De Lima said relatives of Go and Yu were able to contact the 2 via phone at 7 a.m. Wednesday.
Both claimed they were abducted and a P1 million ransom demanded by still unidentified abductor for their safe release, she said.
Abduction or staged incident?
The justice chief has instructed National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Nonnatus Rojas to investigate the incident.
Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gaudencio Pangilinan is on top of "negotiations" for Go's and Yu's release and has sought the help of the PNP-CIDG, de Lima bared.
De Lima said she is not fully convinced about the reported kidnapping and has not ruled out the possibility that the whole incident may just be staged.
"We cannot confirm yet categorically if it was a case of abduction or kidnap for ransom or is that something staged? You can never tell. So tinitingnan namin yun. Nakakagulat naman itong scenario na ito. Nakakagulat na naman itong occurrence na ito. Ano na naman ba ito? Totohanan ba yan o hindi o pakana lang ni Rolito Go o pakana ng ibang tao for whatever agenda," she said.
Regardless of what really transpired, a full blown investigation will take place on possible lapses on the part of NBP officials and personnel, De Lima said.
"I'm very much interested nga. Gusto ko malaman kaagad. Biro mo, right within NBP nakikidnap?" she said.
Go has been applying for executive clemency for at least 3 times but was denied.
The Maguan family objects to his early release insisting that he should complete his maximum 30-year sentence especially that he has escaped detention twice making him ineligible for clemency.
Go shot Eldon in a mere traffic altercation in San Juan City in 1991.