ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/15 April) — Police have filed criminal charges against five of the 10 suspected kidnappers who seized two children and a bakery worker last March 31 in Pitogo, Zamboanga del Sur.
One of the two children, Zynielle Jay Garban, 2, was found dead three days after the suspects seized them. Fishermen fished out her body at sea near Pitogo town.
Senior Supt. Sofronio Ecaldre, Zamboanga del Sur police director, said the criminal charges were filed against the suspects on Monday before the provincial prosecutor’s office.
Ecaldre named the respondents as the following: Mahbad Hassan and Alkim Hassan, both of Barangay Poblacion, Pitogo; Jalid Malali; Usman Jelanie; and, Usman Hassan all of Barangay Kalintana, Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Ecaldre said Mahbad and Alkim were arrested a day after the incident but the arrest was not announced as investigation was ongoing.
He said investigation showed the suspects stayed at the residence of Mahbad and pretended to be fresh fish traders while monitoring the movement of their target, Chzarenia Kapa Sajulga, a businesswoman.
He said Usman was identified through a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage of CJ Bakeshop owned by Sajulga.
The suspects seized Zynielle Jay, her elder brother, Ace Jay Garban, 3, and Ledegie Tomarong, 17, after they failed to get Sajulga.
Zynielle Jay and Ace Jay are the grandchildren of Pitogo Mayor Richard Garban.
Sajulga ran inside her house and locked herself in a room when the suspects entered her bakery.
They grabbed the two children and Tomarong, who were at the fish port, and escaped by using them as human shields during a shootout with pursuing policemen.
Mayor Garban announced that the kidnappers have demanded P60 million for the release of his grandchild and Tomarong.
He appealed to the kidnappers to free the hostages on humanitarian grounds since their families are not capable of paying the ransom.
Meanwhile, Ecaldre said policemen and soldiers were still tracking down the whereabouts of the victims. (MindaNews)