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Metro

'Talent manager,' 3 others nabbed for girl's kidnap

- Non Alquitran, Ed Amoroso -

MANILA, Philippines - A man claiming to be a talent manager and three others were arrested in separate entrapment operations in Las Piñas City Thursday for allegedly kidnapping a nine-year-old girl he promised to develop into a child star, police said yesterday.

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr. identified the suspects as Antonio Rommel Ramilo, 42, who claimed to be singer Gerald Santos’ talent manager; Erlyn May Sarmiento, 21, who said she worked for singer Kyla as her personal assistant; Sarmiento’s sister, Mary Ann Custodio; and Sarmiento’s mother, Marlyn.

The girl’s mother, rice trader Janette Baga-an, told CIDG probers she met Sarmiento and her mother about a year ago when she allowed the two women to live in her house in Bacoor, Cavite. 

Baga-an said Sarmiento – who claimed to have worked as a personal assistant for various celebrities – enticed her to allow her daughter to join singing and acting workshops under the supervision of artists like Gerald Santos, Kyla and Cacai Velasquez.

She added that since February last year, Sarmiento has accompanied her daughter to several singing and acting workshops. She said at one event in San Pablo, Laguna, her daughter was introduced to Ramilo.

Baga-an said since the time Sarmiento began taking her daughter to workshops, she has paid Sarmiento and later, Ramilo, nearly P1 million in the belief that they could help her daughter become a child star.

She said each time she asked about her daughter’s chances of becoming a celebrity, the suspects would tell her her daughter needs more training and workshops.

Last Feb. 14, Baga-an said Sarmiento took her daughter to attend another acting workshop in Angeles, Pampanga and since then she has not seen her daughter. When she asked Sarmiento, the woman said Ramilo took the child somewhere in Batangas.

When she asked Ramilo, she said the suspect would only reply through text messages that she needs to settle her alleged debts to Kyla, amounting to P11,200; Gerald Santos, P15,000; Cacai Velasquez, P5,000; and to himself, P7,000 for the workshop fees.

Baga-an sought the help of the CIDG, whose police officers arrested Sarmiento and her mother in Bacoor after Sarmiento received P15,000 in marked money.

The police team proceeded to Dreamville Subdivision in Imus, Cavite, rescued the girl and arrested Custodio.

CIDG operatives set up another entrapment at a mall in Las Piñas City and arrested Ramilo after he received P12,000 in marked money.

The four suspects are being held by the CIDG while charges of child abuse and kidnapping are being readied against them.

ANTONIO ROMMEL RAMILO

BACOOR

CACAI VELASQUEZ

CAVITE

CITY THURSDAY

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION AND DETECTION GROUP

DAUGHTER

GERALD SANTOS

LAS PI

RAMILO

SARMIENTO

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