MANILA - A woman was bound, gagged, put in the trunk of a car and then thrown off a bridge but still lived to tell the tale of how she survived a carjacking that could have ended in her death.
On February 9, 2001, "Karina" was driving her car on her way home to San Pedro, Laguna when a van pulled up near her vehicle and some men told her that she had a flat tire.
"Merong lumampas na sasakyan, sumenyas na flat ang gulong ko. Hindi ko pinansin kasi bago ang sasakyan ko. Pagkaraan noon, lumampas ulit 'yung sasakyan, sumesenyas ulit na flat 'yung gulong ko," she recalled.
It was then that she discovered that one of her rear tires was indeed flat.
When she stopped her car, a man approached and offered to help change the tire.
After helping out, the man asked if he could hitch a ride since he and Karina lived in the same area. Karina agreed, especially since the man had already helped her.
When they reached the address given to her by the man, the man took out a knife and pointed it at her neck.
"Karina" said she willingly gave up control of the vehicle. The man instructed her to follow the van that had earlier warned her about her flat tire.
BOUND AND GAGGED
Upon reaching a certain spot, two of the men on the van got off and went in Karina's car.
The carjackers then bound Karina's hands and feet before putting her in the trunk of the car.
"Binuhat ako, nilagay ako sa trunk. Doon na nag-umpisa ang kaba," she said.
With her eyes and mouth taped, her hands tied, and a plastic bag put over her head, Karina remained calm and slowly removed the objects restricting her movements.
"Hindi naman ako umiiyak. Hindi rin ako nagpapanic, kasi siguro 'yung personalidad ko. Siyempre kinakabahan ako pero hindi 'yung naghi-hysterical. 'Yung kaba ko nandoon," she narrated.
She also realized that her captors had no plans of keeping her alive since she had already seen their faces.
"Hindi pumasok sa isip ko na mamamatay ako doon sa oras na iyon. Iniisip ko kung paano nga ang gagawin ko para makalabas, kung makakalabas ba ako doon. 'Yun na yung mahabang gabi," she added.
Karina said she decided to play dead in an effort to fool her captors.
When they checked on her, one of the carjackers poked her stomach and then went back inside the car.
"Binuksan nila 'yung trunk. Noong una, 'yung tiyan ko, pinindot. Tapos pagbalik sa loob, sabi: Humihinga pa," she said.
Every time the carjackers closed the trunk's door, Karina would loosen the wires on her hands while blowing on the plastic bag on her head so she can breathe.
Karina said she held her breath every time the carjackers checked on her in the trunk.
Finally, her captors took her out of the trunk.
"Naisip ko, ano kayang gagawin sa akin nitong mga ito? Ihahagis ako sa bangin? Kung ihahagis naman ako sa tubig, malulunod ako."
The carjackers then threw Karina over a bridge and into a river.
THROWN OFF A BRIDGE
Although she did not know how to swim, Karina felt that the river was not that deep and she tried to stand.
She then removed the wires on her neck and hands and crawled toward the riverbank.
When she succeeded in climbing up to the highway, she walked until she found a house where she could call for help.
"May nahawakan ako na damo na isang tumpok. 'Yun ang ginamit ko para makaakyat ako doon sa highway pala 'yun."
"Nagpapatigil ako ng mga sasakyan, makiki-hitch ako. Tapos noong mapagmasdan ko ang hitsura ko, sabi ko baka kaya hindi ako tinitigilan, baka akala nila holdaper ako. Pain. Ganoon. Kaya naglakad-lakad ako, naghanap ako ng mga bahay. Ilan 'yung kinatok ko, wala namang lumabas," she added.
A man finally opened his door, and asked Karina what happened to her. It was then that she found out she was in Calauan, Laguna.
Karina narrated her ordeal. She was able to call her husband to pick her up.
Looking back, Karina believes it was her presence of mind that saved her that night.
"Yung presence of mind. Lahat ng nakausap ko after that, iisa ang sinabi nila. Presence of mind, presence of mind ang nakaligtas sa inyo. Kasi hindi kayo nagpanic, nakapag-isip pa kayo na magpatay-patayan."
After a few weeks, an informant went to Muntinlupa City Police to report a group of suspected carjackers who would always leave behind their car each night in a vacant lot in Barangay Bayanan, Muntinlupa City.
Authorities were able to apprehend members of the group.
Karina identified two of the suspects as the one who stole her vehicle that night.
The group has also been linked to other crimes, including the murder of a woman and her child. The victims were also pushed over a bridge in Calauan, Laguna.
Karina said she was the only victim of the carjacking group to survive.
The suspects are currently in prison for multiple charges of murder and frustrated murder.
Thirteen years after her ordeal, Karina has yet to receive justice for what happened to her.
"Kung ano ang ginawa nila, dapat 'yun din ang gawin sa kanila, eh. Kung ano ang ginawa nila sa mga pinatay nila, maramdaman nila kung ano ang pakiramdam."
SOCO, ABS-CBN, July 12, 2014
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