Faraway dream of Tsinoys: To be unafraid | Inquirer News

Faraway dream of Tsinoys: To be unafraid

/ 04:58 AM September 29, 2014




MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine National Police’s Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) replaced the Presidential Anti-Crime Emergency Response (Pacer) in 2012. It is a unit encompassing other crimes besides KFRs. Again, the situation has deteriorated alarmingly; not just Tsinoys and Filipinos but also Koreans and other nationalities have joined the roster of KFR, or kidnap for ransom, victims.

Foreign groups have asked to meet with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima and then AKG Chief Senior Supt. Renato Gumban (replaced last week by Senior Supt. Roberto Fajardo — Ed.).


If body language tells part of the story, Roxas and Purisima, seated beside each other at the head table of a Sept. 3 forum conducted by the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO), may as well have sat back-to-back. The enmity between them was so apparent, you could cut it with a knife.


Roxas vowed Operation Lambat (Dragnet) would form teams of eight men each to deal with one KFR case at a time while continuing to plan and strategize. For their part, Purisima and Gumban offered platitudes. Members of the MRPO remain skeptical. Much more is needed, they complain. That President Aquino stands by Purisima has disappointed not a few sectors.

Indictments of the police


Two reprehensible events, both indictments of the police, are cited by MRPO founder Teresita Ang-See. In 2013, a KFR mastermind was caught, escaping from detention before he could be brought to court. Just before he disappeared, a grenade was found in front of the victim’s house. The case against him was later withdrawn with no manhunt ordered for his arrest or any punishment for the officers who allowed him to escape.

This June, an arrest warrant for a KFR mastermind was issued. His victim brought the warrant to AKG, citing places where the culprit could possibly be hiding. The following month, the Manila Police District, in pursuit of another case in which the missing KFR mastermind was also the main culprit, asked AKG for a copy of the warrant.

AKG’s response: We don’t have it. When Ang-See brought the matter up, Gumban expressed surprise that a warrant had been issued and that the victim had personally turned it over to his unit.

Is AKG deliberately covering up for their own people to avoid arresting a well-connected, well-funded and influential mastermind?

Recorded Tsinoy KFR cases: 18 in 2012; 26 in 2013; 28 as of August 2014. The numbers are rising.

A 69-year-old owner of an umbrella factory, Benito Chao, was kidnapped in Caloocan City the night of Aug. 27. The next evening, an MRPO leader received a text message: Chao had been found dead in Santa Maria, Bulacan province, shot through the head.

More sophisticated information technology such as mobile phones, automated teller machines and electronic banking have rendered kidnappers’ despicable deeds easy-as-pie to carry out. After Chao, three more Tsinoy KFRs were committed on Aug. 31.

The Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce, on alert status, have held a forum similar to MRPO’s, seeking answers from the PNP and the Interior department. Some of them have also asked MRPO for advice on how to avoid becoming victims.

These things happen “under the (very) noses of police authorities,” Sen. Chiz Escudero observed. Grace Poe issued a statement calling on Purisima to “heighten (their) commitment and zeal.” She expressed frustration that the PNP chief has not shown up at Senate hearings “to give us a plan…in light of the current crime situation.” Neither has he stepped forward to refute corruption allegations, she complained.

Tips from a victim

Architect Ka Kuen Chua, MRPO chair and a 17-day KFR victim in 2008, has adopted the motto: “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” Working with Ang-See to deal with MRPO’s concerns, he offers tips on what to do if one ends up a kidnap victim based on his experience:

— Do not remove your blindfold

— Remember the voice and accents of your captors

— Observe where you are going by sense of direction, quality of terrain and sounds

— Estimate travel time to have a rough idea of your location

— Never give out information about yourself, especially your finances

— Never argue with abductors; follow their instructions and

— Think twice about escaping; but when the coast is clear, go to the nearest police station (and pray they are “good guys”)

Prayer, in fact, strengthened the backbone of the next-of-kin of two teenagers kidnapped immediately after Chao’s killing. Recalling the day she was delivering the ransom money to the drop-off point, she says: “As I drove, I just kept repeating Psalm 23: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want… Yea, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil….’”

MRPO has challenged the AKG to get Chao’s kidnappers-murderers in the way that Pacer and its predecessor worked on the cases of Charlene Mayne Sy (kidnapped in 1993) and Betti Chua Sy (2003) until their abductors were caught and convicted.

They add that AKG should find Suzette Wang, partner-in-crime of former actor and congressman Dennis Roldan who was recently convicted for the 2005 Kenshi Yu abduction.

In a paper read at Ateneo de Manila, Ang-See asked: “Why must Tsinoys pay a price for economic success? Weren’t the sacrifices and struggles the ethnic Chinese went through… enough to enable them to fully enjoy the fruits of their hardships?”

To bask in the Philippine sun unafraid—that seems a faraway dream for the hapless Tsinoys.


Tsinoys as kidnap targets: Hard workers, silent victims


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TAGS: Crime, Kidnapping, Mar Roxas, Philippines, PNP‎, Police, Tsinoys

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