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'Duterte' couple kidnapped in Zambo

The authorities are still trying to determine the motives behind the abduction of the couple. Philstar.com/File photo

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines -  A couple with similar surname of President Rodrigo Duterte were abducted by gunmen wearing bonnets Friday night in the remote coastal village of Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte, according to police authorities.

Police Superintendent Rogelio Alabata, spokesman of the Police Regional Office 9 (PRO), identified the victims as Jose Duterte, 62, a coconut farmer and his wife Jessica Barazon Duterte, 52, residents of Barangay Sta. Maria, Siocon town.

Alabata said the victims were forcibly taken about 7:45 p.m. by seven gunmen from their residence.

The gunmen, wearing bonnets and police uniforms, dragged their victims into a white motorized pumpboat and sped off towards unknown direction.

Siocon Municipal Police Station commander Chief Inspector Joseph Reales Maulad with police forces and military troops launched pursuit to track down the location of the suspects and victims.

Maulad also alerted the adjacent municipal police stations near the coastal area to intercept the suspects and rescue the captives.

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Case investigator PO2 Siegfried dela Cruz said the victims were not relatives of the president.

Dela Cruz said they were still trying to ascertain the identities of the suspects and the motives behind the abduction.

He said Jose Duterte was detained in 2015 for the crime of attempted murder in Siocon.

According to the case investigator, the victims were not from an affluent family and were just surviving by tilling their own land with coconuts.

Dela Cruz disclosed that they were looking at property interest as possible motive, citing that the couple refused to sell their parcel of land.

“The brain of the abduction might be from the same area and hired outsiders just to force the victims into selling their properties,” said Dela Cruz.

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