MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Authorities on Tuesday rescued a Burmese boy who was abducted in Biñan, Laguna last Friday.
Members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Counter-Terrorism Division found the 7-year-old boy inside a locked room in Pines Ville Subdivision in Taytay, Rizal.
Atty. Virgilio Mendez, NBI deputy director for Regional Operations Services, said the rescue operation was carried out based on a tip from an informant who lives in the area where the boy was found.
“We informed the [Justice] Secretary about it, then humingi kami ng clearance,” said Mendez.
The boy’s abductors, however, were already gone when the NBI agents arrived.
“Judgment call, pumunta kami sa scene, we verified. Noong nakita namin na the safety of the victim is not in peril, we decided to rescue,” said Mendez.
Only after he was asked to write his name did the NBI identify him as the boy kidnapped in Biñan.
Except for his mosquito bites, the child was unharmed.
“He was saying, ‘I’m hungry. I want to eat chicken,’” said Mendez.
The boy underwent stress debriefing and medical examination at Camp Crame after the rescue.
Kidnap for ransom
The NBI has confirmed that the incident was a kidnap-for- ransom case.
The family was in negotiations with the kidnappers when the child was recovered.
An ABS-CBN News source said the kidnappers were asking for ransom of between P20 million and P30 million.
The NBI is continuing its follow-up operations against the suspects. The family has been turned over to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Anti-Kidnapping Group which is investigating the abduction.
Police said a red Nissan Sentra with plate number TBK 827 blocked the path of the school bus carrying the victim along a national highway in Barangay San Francisco at around 7:30 a.m. last Friday.
According to the bus conductor Flash delos Reyes, three armed men alighted the vehicle and entered the bus.
“Humarang po sa amin ‘yung kotse. Tapos lumabas ‘yung isa na may armalite tapos lumabas din ‘yung dalawa. Tinutukan ‘yung driver tapos pinabubuksan sa bata ‘yung pinto, binuksan naman po,” he said.
Witnesses said the boy was forcibly taken by the suspects and brought inside the suspects’ get-away vehicle.
Contrary to NBI’s findings, the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group said the incident was an abduction and not a kidnap-for-ransom case, saying that no payoff was given to the abductors.
“Na-rescue ‘yung bata without any ransom paid, so kaya iyan ang pinagtutuunan natin ng pansin,” said Supt. Rolando Miranda, chief of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group.
Anti-crime advocate Teresita Ang See, meanwhile, expressed dismay over the new Anti-Kidnapping Group, which replaced the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER) unit.
“Isa o dalawang tao na lang ang natira doon sa buong team na talagang mapagkakatiwalaan,” said See.
But the Anti-Kidnapping Group disputed this, saying they have added personnel to strengthen its campaign against kidnapping.
“Magtiwala kayo sa amin, Ma’m Tessie. Huwag niyo sana pagdudahan ang sinceridad ng mga opisyal. ‘Yung mga dating pinagtiwalaan niyo dati sa PACER, kami pa rin po ‘yung tao ng Anti-Kidnapping Group,” said Miranda. – with reports from Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN News Southern Tagalog; Francis Faulve, Maan Macapagal and Dominic Almelor, ABS-CBN News; ANC