Cebu News

Missing child is feared abducted

- Ryan Christopher J. Sorote - The Philippine Star

CEBU, Philippines - A one and a half-year-old boy is missing and believed abducted after two women allegedly duped his aunt into leaving him with them in a downtown mall late yesterday morning.

Gina Pareja, 29, of Liloan, Cebu, and her younger sister, Diana Simbajon, 21, of Ginatilan, Cebu, were both in tears as they related the incident to the Investigation and Detective Management Branch (IDMB) of the Cebu City Police Office.

Pareja said she was cradling her sleeping nephew, Jake, when two unidentified women suddenly approached her at around 11 a.m. at the activity center of the mall.

She was accompanying her sister, who was to take the bus that leaves at noontime for Ginatilan.

The sisters and the child arrived in Cebu City yesterday from Tabuelan where they attended a fiesta celebration last Saturday.

Pareja said that she seems to have recognized one of the women as a relative of her sister's common law husband, but could not remember when and where they met.

She said the woman reportedly asked her to follow her younger sister, Simbajon, the mother of the baby, who left to buy lunch.

“Apasa si Dian kay uban mi og uli (Ginatilan) karon,” (Go follow Dian as we are going home together) Pareja quoted the one of the abductors.

Pareja said that she handed the baby to the stranger, but did not even bother to look for Simbajon.

When the younger sister returned a few minutes later, it was also when Pareja noticed that the child was gone along with the two women.

Frantic search

The sisters went around the mall to look for the women and the child, but to no avail.

Desperate, Simbajon sought help from traffic enforcers outside the mall who referred them to the police. They were brought by the Mobile Patrol Group to IDMB.

Chief Insp. Bonifacio Garciano, chief of the Cebu City IDMB, immediately ordered his men to look for the missing boy.

“Posible nga naa ra sa ilang mga kapamilya ang bata mao nga padayon gihapon ang atong imbestigasyon kun tinuod ba gyud nga gi-kidnap,” (It is possible that the child is just with family members that is why we are investigating if indeed the child was kidnapped) Garciano said.

Garciano said they were able to acquire a copy of the footage from mall's security camera, but the resolution was poor and it was hard to make out how the women looked like.

“Lisod kaayo kung mo-declare mi og missing. For investigation gihapon ni na kaso,” (It's hard for us to declare the child as missing. The case is still for investigation) he said.

The police are set to release a cartographic sketch of one of the women today.

Garciano also said that they will also have to wait for Rogelio Rubio, 26, the father of the missing child, who was expected to arrive from Ginatilan last night after he was informed of what happened to his son.

The police official said that they need him to confirm their doubts that the baby is in the hands of their relatives here in Cebu. — /NLQ (FREEMAN)












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