Laguna police clear businessman in viral ‘kidnap’ video
SAN PEDRO CITY – A man, whose picture of his vehicle recently went viral online as it was thought to be carrying child abductors, was “cleared” by the police after authorities confirmed he was simply a local wine dealer.
As it turned out, the reason Esveraldo Eustaquio, a resident of San Pablo City, Laguna, was often seen driving his van around Pila, Laguna was to deliver gallons of “lambanog,” a local coconut wine, to his clients.
Pila police Chief Sr. Insp. Earl Rodenni Jangalay said on Thursday that Eustaquio was “invited” to the police station on Wednesday afternoon after Jangalay himself saw the man’s van parked on the street in Barangay Bulilan.
It was the same vehicle – a gray van – earlier caught on a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera, and reportedly carried a child kidnap victim.
Jangalay said the “kidnapping scare” started in the communities when a group of three male children reported to village officials in Barangays Linga and Aplaya that a man on a van tried to abduct them by luring them with some coins about two weeks ago.
The children were only able to escape by running away but they saw another child being held inside the van. The children also said there were plastic gallons inside the vehicle that probably contained illegal drugs.
“A CCTV caught a picture of the van. The problem was the village officials posted it online right away and so it went viral,” Jangalay said.
At the police station, Eustaquio, a former overseas worker, told police that he just bought the van late last year for his lambanog business. The police verified that the van’s papers were authentic.
Eustaquio also confirmed meeting and trying to give the children coins “because he thought they were street children,” Jangalay said.
Police further clarified that the supposed kidnap victim that the children claimed they saw earlier inside the van was Eustaquio’s helper, and the plastic gallons contained nothing more but lambanog. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.