Deterring kidnapping, other heinous crimes

Under PBBM’s leadership, I am confident that our criminal justice system will continue to properly function and that crime victims will get justice.

September 6, 2022

Despite several news stories related to abduction and murder grabbing headlines in recent weeks, I believe that our criminal justice system under the current administration is functioning well.

Detractors insinuate that criminal elements have run rampant within two months of the Marcos presidency. For the same period, they allege that the volume of index crimes is higher compared to the previous administration.

I do not have the official data from the Philippine National Police. But I can assure everyone that President Marcos, like President Duterte, has the highest respect for the law and has “zero tolerance” for criminality.

Rather than being preoccupied with statistics, we should focus our energy on strengthening the pillars of our criminal justice system through engaged citizenship. The proper and expeditious implementation of the law is the ultimate deterrent to crime. Every Filipino plays a crucial role in upholding and protecting their constitutional right to life. By coordinating closely with government authorities and law enforcers to resolve crimes, we continue to strike fear into the hearts of these lawless elements. Likewise, swift justice can be served to the heinous crime victims.

Case No. 1: Kidnapped Filipino -Chinese victims

Take for instance the two kidnapping-for-ransom with murder cases that I am now handling as a private prosecutor. The first case involves two Filipino-Chinese individuals abducted in front of their house in Manila last June. Initially, the kidnappers demanded P100 million ransom, while they held the victims captive for 10 days. Later on, the kidnap gang agreed to an P8 million ransom. They constantly threatened to kill the abductees and their relatives. They also threatened to publicly disclose the alleged criminal records of the parents of a victim.

When the victims’ families asked for my help, I immediately advised them to ignore the ransom demand and report the crime to the police. They risk themselves being victimized again should they settle with the abductors. It is the modus operandi of these kidnap gangs. I also told them to bring this matter to the court of law, so that the culprits would get their just punishment.

I communicated with PNP Officer-in-Charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. The general referred our group to the Anti-Kidnapping Group, which successfully rescued the abductees in Laguna. The AKG was able to track down the kidnappers in Rizal, wherein a gunfight resulted in the death of a 24-year-old rookie police officer from Kalinga. Further investigation revealed that some of the suspects had previous criminal convictions. However, the Court of Appeals overturned these convictions due to constitutional irregularity. Likewise, some of them were involved in extortion cases.

Case No. 2: Abducted and murdered pharmaceutical CEO

Last Monday, I assisted several complainants and witnesses in filing murder, kidnap-for-ransom, and arson (involving a vehicle) charges before the Department of Justice against 11 suspects who abducted and killed businessman Eduardo Tolosa.

Five of the suspects executed sworn statements detailing their participation in the crime. They admitted to having dumped and burned the body of Mr. Tolosa in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, and burned the victim’s Toyota Land Cruiser in San Luis, Pampanga. Further, they revealed the mastermind, cohorts, and other personalities involved in the crime.

Again, we closely coordinated with the AKG in the filing of appropriate criminal cases against the suspects. I have urged Tolosa’s family and business associates against paying the ransom of P100 million and asked them to work closely with police authorities to locate Mr. Tolosa’s whereabouts and apprehend the kidnap gang. The businessman, who was the owner and chief executive officer of Iraseth Pharmaceutical Inc., had been missing since 19 July. He was supposed to meet a person in Tagaytay City.

Based on police investigation, Mr. Tolosa asked an Iraseth Pharma executive to have cash in foreign currencies and luxury watches delivered to him in Bonifacio Global City. After Tolosa received his belongings from a carrier, his family and relatives could no longer contact him. Through CCTV footage, Mr. Tolosa was seen with an unidentified male driver heading toward the southbound direction that same evening.

Previous cases

During PRRD’s time, I was able to extend help to kidnap-for-ransom victims. One case involved a police colonel and other uniformed personnel. Fortunately, the victim heeded my advice and filed a case against the colonel and his cohorts. Another case pertained to an abducted person from Mainland China. This time, the relatives paid the ransom without my knowledge and refused to file a case against the kidnappers. I reproached them for having condoned a major crime and disrespecting Philippine laws.

Consistently, I have encouraged my clients to never settle with criminal elements. In their quest for swift justice, the victims, complainants, and witnesses should put their trust and confidence in law enforcers and officers of the court. These individuals and groups might have powerful connections. Some of them even come from well-to-do families.

But under PBBM’s leadership, I am confident that our criminal justice system will continue to properly function and that crime victims will get justice. As proactive citizens, let us help the government fight criminality and unlawful activities. Let us be vigilant in safeguarding our lives and rights.

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