Kidnap for ransom cases on the rise
Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - February 12, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Incidents of kidnapping for ransom have gone up since December, and anti-crime advocates believe crime syndicates may be taking advantage of a police force stretched thin due to election duties.

Teresita Ang See, founding chair of the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO), said the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) has investigated 30 cases of ransom kidnapping since December alone.

While there have been improvements in the police’s anti-kidnapping operations, See said much more could be achieved if families of victims would continue to cooperate with investigators.

Failure to cooperate with authorities would only embolden crime syndicates and make it harder for law enforcers to free victims and make arrests, See told reporters at Camp Crame.

“Fortunately the AKG is still focused on anti-kidnapping campaign and we encourage the victims to cooperate and the business sector – which is very vulnerable – to be very vigilant in these times,” she said.

She was at the PNP headquarters for the 4th anniversary of the AKG.

See credited the successful rescue of a kidnap victim in Tarlac to the cooperation between the victim’s family and the PNP-AKG.

“There are positive results if there is cooperation,” she said.

Just last month, See said three kidnappings were recorded by the MRPO – one in Metro Manila and two in Tarlac. See said the incidents happened one after the other.

With the police force busy with its pre-election duties like enforcing the gun ban and providing security to candidates, criminal syndicates appear to have gone into full gear, she said.

“We’re appealing to candidates to hire their own bodyguards and not to deplete the ranks of the PNP,” she said. “Let them (police) do their work.”

See also called on the PNP to intensify its campaign against car theft, saying kidnap syndicates use stolen vehicles in their criminal operations.

“We think they’re related,” she said referring to kidnapping and car theft.

See also called on authorities to look into kidnapping operations being run from the New Bilibid Prison by some high-profile convicts.

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