PNP downplaying Biñan kidnapping?By Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Is the Philippine National Police (PNP) trying to downplay the abduction of an 8-year-old Burmese boy in Biñan, Laguna?
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Wednesday expressed surprise that the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) had denied that the incident was a kidnap-for-ransom case.
In an interview, De Lima insisted that the armed men who forcibly took the victim had demanded ransom for his release before he was “rescued” by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents in Taytay, Rizal.
“I really don’t understand why the AKG has denied that there was a demand for ransom because our information is that there was indeed a ransom demand but [no payment was made],” De Lima told reporters.
She also said that the PNP-AKG operatives themselves had assisted the victim’s parents in negotiating with the still unidentified kidnappers.
But when asked if it was important to determine whether the abductors had asked for ransom, De Lima said: “It doesn’t matter.”
“What’s more important is that we know that the boy was really kidnapped and I don’t think AKG can deny that,” she added.
The NBI is an attached agency of the Department of Justice and as head of the department, De Lima has administrative supervision over the bureau.
The 8-year-old boy, said to be a son of Burmese immigrants, was taken by heavily armed men as he was about to board a school bus in Biñan City last Friday.
De Lima said NBI operatives received a tip from an anonymous caller and found the boy who had been abandoned by his captors in a shanty in Taytay, Rizal, on Tuesday.
Although the victim was returned safely to his family, she stressed that the police must pursue the case to identify and arrest the men who took him.
Biñan police chief Superintendent Leo Luna told the Inquirer Wednesday in a phone interview that it was still not clear why the kidnappers had abandoned the boy.
He said it was likely that the men had mistaken the victim for someone else as his parents were just “ordinary employees” of a food processing company located in the city’s Barangay Sto. Tomas.
“The father was like a supervisor, while the mother was only assisting [her husband],” Luna said.
Although the boy went to a private school, Luna said the family was not well off and lived in a house provided by the company. The Burmese family has been in the city for over a decade now, he added. With Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon