P20 million paid for Surigao ex-mayor’s release?

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/25 May) – The former mayor of Carrascal municipality in Surigao del Sur town kidnapped last Monday was released Thursday morning after his family paid the ransom demand, officials said.

Incumbent Carrascal Mayor Vicente Pimentel said in a telephone interview he was not sure exactly how much was paid by the family of former mayor Vicente Lim Tan, 67, but added it was “somewhere close to P20 million.”

Supt. Martin Gamba, information officer of the Caraga regional police office based in Butuan City, likewise said over telephone they have reason to believe that Tan’s family paid the ransom demand but could not confirm how much exactly the amount was.

Gamba said it took them a while to confirm Tan’s release since the victim did not go home to Carrascal after the release but instead went to Davao City.

Tan was abducted by eight men in Sitio Catupgas, Barangay Zone 3 in the municipality of Lanuza, also in Surigao del Sur, Monday morning as he was supervising a bridge project. The former mayor is manager of Carrascal Integrated Enterprise.

He was also released in Lanuza, police said.

Pimentel said police should now quickly move to capture the suspects since they now have identifies of the kidnappers.

“I’m sure these kidnappers are celebrating their success. If the PNP will not work for the kidnappers’ immediate apprehension, they will have time to hide and plot another scheme to victimize other businessmen in the province,” he added.

The regional police office, said Gamba, confirmed they now have the suspects’ identities but is withholding the names as operations are being conducted.

Senior Insp. Ray Sorreda, Carrascal police chief, earlier said that Tan was also abducted by the New People’s Army in 1997 as he was visiting a construction project in the municipality of Lianga, also in Surigao del Sur. He was released months after. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)

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