Tabloid man, companion posing as NBI team held for kidnapBy Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A tabloid columnist and his companion were arrested for allegedly posing as agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and kidnapping an Indian national Friday night in Quezon City.
Arnel Petil, 50, and Richard Versoza, 39, both residents of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan province, were accosted by the police at the parking lot of the Batasan police station after their victim Jaswant Singh was heard shouting for help.
Petil writes a column titled “Misyon Aksyon” for two tabloids, the Inquirer learned. Four other men linked to the kidnapping remained at large.
Chief Insp. Rodelio Marcelo of the Quezon City Police District’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit said investigators were checking if the suspects were the same group tagged in the June 2012 abduction of another Indian national who was reportedly held captive for five days in Tagaytay City.
Marcelo deferred discussing the 2012 and the current case in detail as the manhunt for the other suspects was still in progress on Saturday. “We are going after their companions and checking their background if they have been involved in previous cases,” he said.
Singh and his brother-in-law, Jeevant, were praying inside the apartment they were renting in Barangay Batasan Hills around 7:30 p.m. on Friday when Petil, Versoza and four others barged in, according to the complaint.
Agents serving warrants
The men introduced themselves as NBI agents serving warrants and handcuffed Singh. Jeevant managed to rush out of the apartment during the commotion and sought the help of friends and a village guard.
Four of the intruders, including Petil and Versoza, forced Singh into an owner-type jeep, where he was allegedly punched by his captors. The two other suspects boarded another vehicle.
The jeep carrying Singh drove off and stopped at the Batasan police station. While it was still parked, Jeevant arrived at the station to report the incident and saw his brother-in-law shouting for help from inside the jeep.
Alerted by Jeevant, policemen manning the station placed Petil and Versoza under arrest. The two other suspects who were in the jeep managed to escape.
Petil and Versoza were subjected to inquest proceedings Saturday morning, with the prosecutor approving the filing of kidnapping charges in court without bail, according to SPO1 Pascual Fabreag, the officer on the case.
Versoza, who was carrying a .45-caliber pistol when arrested, was also charged with illegal possession of firearms and violation of the election gun ban.