But PNP asks parents to remain vigilant
The Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) has belied reports circulating in text messages and social media of young children being kidnapped for their organs by a syndicate operating in some parts of Metro Manila and nearby cities and provinces.
The PNP-AKG said that based on police reports and investigations, it has not found any conclusive evidence pointing to the alleged disappearance of children, as well as the existence of the van supposedly used to snatch victims.
The reports of missing children had prompted PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa to call for an AKG investigation, especially after the arrest of a male suspect for allegedly kidnapping a 5-year-old boy in Barangay San Joaquin, Pasig City last March 15.
Before this incident, the photo of an alleged abductor riding a green van went viral on Facebook, which led the Eastern Police District (EPD) to alert mobile patrols to be on the lookout for the green van.
In a press conference last March 19, Dela Rosa said that whether the reports are true or not, the police should still investigate, especially since it concerns children.
"They should be very vigilant naman sa child kidnapping incidents. Bantayan ninyo yan, [for the] assurance sa public. Well, I can assure you that your police will act on any report at magbabantay kami sa kapakanan ng mga bata," he said.
"So far, wala pa tayong na-establish kung merong sindikato na namumulot ng bata," he added.
Last March 2, there were reports in social media of alleged abduction of children and of bodies found in Barangay Santa Lucia, San Juan.
In January, three incidents of alleged kidnappings were reported in Biñan, Laguna. A victim who allegedly managed to escape said she was kidnapped using a black van.
According to AKG spokesperson Supt. Elmer Cereno, they asked for reports from San Juan and Pasig in Metro Manila and from cities in Laguna and Batangas.
“To look into the possibility ng lumalabas sa mga balita natin na ganitong umano'y cases of kidnapping of minors related to internal organs of trafficking, nag-start kami buhat nang mabalitaan ito. Nag-trace down kami sa mga possibility na pinangyarihan nito. At sumagot ang mga chiefs of police ng mga cities at bayan, negative naman ang mga related incidents na na-report sa kanila," Cereno said.
An email from the Batangas Police Provincial Office read, “Negative po kami."
Santa Rosa City Police Station also said in an email, "Negative po ma'am/sir."
Bulacan Police Provincial Office (PPO) said, "Bulacan PPO has negative report involving abduction with taking of internal organs."
Calabarzon Regional Director Chief Supt. Mao Aplasca, through a document released by his office, said, "Biñan CPS [City Police Station] averred that there was no reported missing children in Biñan City for the period."
"Checkpoint, Oplan-Sita, awareness campaign, information dissemination and distribution of IEC materials on crime prevention in different barangays and schools in Biñan City to eliminate the fear of Biñan populace is being conducted by the local police,” the report read.
Biñan City Police Station investigation revealed that the high school student who was allegedly kidnapped has not been attending classes since 2017.
“Conducted in-depth investigation and revealed that the high school student who stated that she was kidnapped is no longer studying nor attending classes in school since November 2017," the police report read.
A CCTV installed in the area was also not able to record the alleged kidnapping.
"Reviewed the recorded CCTV installed within the city and in other subsequent posts in order to identify and track the movement of the suspects but same revealed no 'van' that passed through at the given place and time by the alleged victim,” the report read.
San Juan City Police Station said the alleged incident of kidnapping in their area was a false alarm.
"Bgy. Sta. Lucia issued a certification dated March and signed by Hon. Eustaquio Belches Jr. Barangay Chairman that there was no case of abduction of children in Bgy. Sta. Lucia on March 1, 2018, and confirms that the news about kidnapping has no evidence, therefore, declared false alarm," report said.
Biñan City Police Station also said they received negative reports about the alleged kidnapping.
“Good day po, negative po kami sa cases re Kidnapping or related to internal organs trafficking," the Biñan City Police Station report read.
Eastern Police District also found no trace of the van’s existence.
"Said suspect was seen as passenger of a reported green van with plate number XMM 507 that goes viral in Facebook allegedly abducting minors. But when the responding officers arrived, said vehicle was nowhere to be found," the EPD report read.
Cereno said they are still collating reports.
“Pinag-aaralan namin, makikita naman namin na as of this time, wala namang naireport sa mga stations na sinasabing may nangyari sa mga area na kumukuha ng mga minor,” he said.
The AKG is looking into the motives behind the “kidnapping reports” circulating via text and social media and why there seems to be no evidence related to the “missing children.”
"Through gathering of evidence, mapapatunayan natin na walang katotohanan ang mga kumakalat na balita," Cereno said.
Whether the kidnappings indeed happened, the AKG asked the public to report any similar incident and called on possible witnesses to come forward.
"Isumbong agad sa mga station concerned para mabigyan agad ng aksiyon. Maging vigilant din tayo sa ating kapaligiran," Cereno said.
The AKG appealed to social media users to refrain from irresponsible postings and forwarding of messages which may cause the public to panic.
“Hinay-hinay tayo sa pagpo-post sa social media para di mag-create ng takot o kaguluhan sa area at sa parents. Rest assured nandito ang inyong kapulisan, para mabigyan ito ng linaw," Cereno said.
Dela Rosa asked parents to remain vigilant.
“Wala pa tayong naestablish kung merong sindikato ano na namumulot ng bata, grab ng bata, but I am appealing to the public for their vigilance lalo na yung mga mothers, parents. Huwag niyo pabayaan ang mga anak niyo na gumagala dyan sa labas ng pamamahay na walang bantay. Baka mamaya mawala na lang yan so bantayan niyo mga anak niyo,” Dela Rosa said.
"At tama yung ginagawa ng isang kapitbahay. Wala yung parents, hindi ba siya nagsumbong kaagad sa barangay tanod at tumawag ang barangay tanod ng pulis, nahuli yung nagbitbit ng bata so lahat tayo magtutulungan," Dela Rosa added.