DAVAO CITY—Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the police and the military to lock down the city as pursuit operations against at least 10 fleeing suspected kidnappers, whose days are numbered, intensified.
Duterte said all points of exit and entry to the city have been sealed and only after thorough inspections can motorists be allowed to leave or get into the city.
He said authorities are serious about the manhunt and anybody defying the tightened inspection procedure would be dealt with accordingly.
Duterte said he wants the suspects captured at all cost, even if it required policemen to shoot them on sight.
“I told you criminals, don’t come to this city,” he said.
On Thursday, three members of the kidnap gang were killed in a clash with policemen in the city as they were trying to collect a P15-million ransom from Manila-based businesswoman Sally Chua, who was kidnapped in Quezon City a few weeks ago.
Another member of the gang was arrested by police here as the law enforcers swooped down on a branch of Allied Bank here where the ransom payment was supposed to have taken place.
It was learned that at least 15 gang members traveled all the way from Manila to this city on board three Montero SUVs after Chua convinced them to come to this city for the ransom payment.
Senior Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, city police chief, said Chua had hoped that the police here will discover the kidnappers’ presence and she would be freed.
Chua, Dela Rosa said, had hoped that Duterte’s tough stance against criminals will help her end her ordeal in the hands of her kidnappers.
He said as the city has been locked down, authorities have also been placed in full alert.
The police have also placed the arrested suspect under interrogation in the hope of extracting information that could lead to the capture of the other gang members.
While human rights groups have criticized Duterte for virtually allowing police to use extrajudicial means against crimes, which is believed to have inspired killings of crime suspects by vigilantes, many residents and officials of the city have expressed support for the mayor’s forceful way of dealing with criminality.
The Commission on Human Rights has investigated extrajudicial killings of crime suspects in the city which Duterte had dismissed.
The Davao Death Squad is believed to be responsible for the vigilante killings, but its existence has been consistently denied by authorities here. Judy Quiros, Inquirer Mindanao