NBI cracks case, thanks to Spider-Man
INSTEAD of hiding his identity, a Spider-Man mask worn by one of the suspects in the killing of a businesswoman whose body was found stuffed into a plastic drum gave authorities the break they needed to find him and his accomplices.
On Monday, the National Bureau of Investigation filed in the Las Piñas City Prosecutor’s Office a case of kidnapping and murder against three policemen, their cohorts Domingo Balanquit, Empire Salas and others identified only as Egay, Ver, Jim and John/Jane Doe.
The three policemen, according to NBI agent Aristotle Adolfo, were Insp. Elgie Jacobe and Police Officers 1 Mark Jay delos Santos and Edmon Gonzales, all members of the National Capital Region Police Office’s Public Safety Battalion.
Of the nine suspects, only five are in the NBI’s custody—the three policemen, Salas and Balanquit.
In the sworn affidavits they submitted to the NBI, Jacobe, Delos Santos and Salas owned up to the killing of businesswoman Adora Lazatin.
The 50-year-old victim, whose body was stuffed into a plastic drum that was fished out of the Pasig River last Friday, was killed because she had recognized her abductors, the NBI said.
Delos Santos and Salas pointed to Jacobe as the mastermind, an allegation he denied.
Delos Santos said the plan to kidnap Lazatin was hatched on April 2 by Jacobe who asked him to meet him at a house on C-6 in Taguig City. With them were Egay, Ver and Jim.
“He said we would kidnap the wife of a drug lord at a mall in Las Piñas,” he added.
The plan was executed on April 4 after the victim agreed to meet with the suspects whom she thought were planning to buy a lot she owned. She was kidnapped and taken from the mall in Las Piñas to the house on C-6, Taguig, where they took her ATM card and cell phone.
Later that day, Jacobe used the ATM card to withdraw P10,000 from Lazatin’s account at a bank in Lower Bicutan. They then decided to move her to another house on C. Nemesia Street in Caloocan City where they killed her by strangling her with a nylon cord.
The following day, they stuffed her body inside a plastic drum and threw it into the Pasig River near Pandacan, Manila.
Afterward, Delos Santos said Jacobe drove to a Banco De Oro ATM booth near an LRT station in Manila, ordered him to put a Spider-Man mask on and withdraw money from the ATM.
Over the next days, until their arrest on April 9, also at another ATM in Caloocan City, the duo would withdraw P50,000 from Lazatin’s account. Every time, Delos Santos would be wearing the mask to hide his identity from closed-circuit television cameras.
The NBI, however, with the help of Lazatin’s family, learned of the withdrawals and deployed agents to monitor ATMs in areas near the previous withdrawals.
By chance, some of their agents spotted Delos Santos who was wearing the mask. They took a picture of him and the license plate of the car he was riding in, leading to his and his cohorts’ arrest.
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