Rolito Go missing but family says he’s been kidnappedBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines – High-profile inmate Rolito Go is missing but his family told Justice Secretary Leila de Lima that he was kidnapped and his abductors were demanding a P1 million ransom for his release.
Go was first reported missing at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday after he did not appear at the headcount at the National Bilibid Prison (NBP).
De Lima said Go’s family went to the NBP Wednesday morning after Go, his nephew and nurse Clemence Yu failed to return home. They said that they managed to contact Go and Yu by phone who said that their abductors were asking for P1 million.
Go was last seen at the Ina ng Awa Church inside the national penitentiary where his nephew was seen dressing the prisoner’s wound. Go works at the church.
Go is a minimum security inmate after being in prison for almost 19 years and is suffering from colon cancer.
He was convicted of murder for the death of college student Eldon Maguan in a road rage fit in 1991.
NBP Superintendent Richard Schwarskopf Jr. said that two prison officers have been dismissed following the mysterious disappearance of Go.
Sacked were Minimum Security Prison Warden Senior Officer 1 Gabriel Magat and Prison Guard 1 Serafin Geronimo, custodian of Go. Schwarskopf said they are pursuing administrative case against the two.
At the same time, he said, “Rolito Go is still considered an escapee.”
He said the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) already went to NBP to start the investigation.
The disappearance of Go prompted de Lima and Senator Gregorio Honasan to call for an investigation.
“It’s alarming, whether it was an escape or a kidnapping… Can you imagine being kidnapped from the national penitentiary? If you can kidnap somebody, an inmate, who has been convicted, who is safe?” Honasan said.
According to Honasan, the probe will determine whether legislation is needed to give more teeth to the law.
De Lima said she has already ordered the NBI to conduct a probe.
“Is this really kidnapping for ransom or something staged?” De Lima asked.
The family of Eldon Maguan received the news of Go’s kidnapping with disbelief.
“Who would believe that Rolito was kidnapped?” Ellis Maguan, Eldon’s older brother, asked in Filipino.
“The world knows that Rolito is a bigtime government contractor and wealthy businessman before he killed our brother in simple traffic incident in 1991.”
Ellis also dismissed as an “unbelievable alibi” that Go was kidnapped.
“First of all, Go and his nephew disappeared at 1 in the morning. Were kidnappers awake at that time? Second, why was the news broken by his sister? Did the kidnappers know that she was awake and that she had the P1 million ransom with her? And lastly, will anyone kidnap her brother knowing how bad he is and that he can escape even with security assigned to him?” Ellis said in the same statement.
Go escaped the Rizal Provincial Jail in Pasig City on the eve of All Saints Day in 1994 before he was convicted by the Pasig regional trial court. At that time, the Maguans believed that Go was “freed” by jail guards, who were later dismissed from the service.
Two years later, Go, sporting a heavy moustache, was captured in Pampanga by operatives whom he tried to bribe in exchange for his freedom but was turned down.
Like the escape incident in 1994, Ellis believed that Go was also “released and freed” by NBP officials in exchange of millions of pesos.
The Maguans learned that Go has been a “living out” inmate at the NBP since 2008.
They appealed to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to reject Go’s application for medical treatment outside of prison because “it’s only the convict’s alibi to visit his family in Quezon City which Go had been doing since 2008.”
Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David issued a directive to all airports and seaports to be on alert following the report that Go has gone missing.
“Commissioner David issued a directive to all airports and seaports to be on alert for Rolito Go in case he attempts to depart,” Immigration Spokesperson Maria Antonette Mangrobang said in a text message.