Kidnap suspect?s petition for Witness Protection dismissed

In a radio interview, Calica said the prosecution has not found enough evidence to grant protection to 18-year old Hazel Tuala, babysitter of kidnap victim Ralph Ashley.

Tuala surrendered to police in General Santos last month and executed an extra-judicial confession that stated her “innocence.”

In her statement, she confessed that she was forced to cooperate with the kidnappers because she was under threat. “Somebody poked a gun at my head and told me to bring the child to a motorcycle that was waiting for us, just a few meters away from Ralph Ashley’s school,” she said.

She also said she was forced to marry in Islamic rites. “I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to stay alive so I agreed to what they wanted me to do,” she explained.

Based on preliminary findings, Calica said the prosecution didn’t find it necessary to grant Tuala protection under the program “even if she intended to be a witness to the crime.”

He stressed that the evidences, including the witnesses gathered by the Prosecution “are more than enough to prosecute and bring to trial the suspects.”

On January 3, police authorities led by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in North Cotabato, arrested in the hinterlands of Bukidnon province kidnap suspect Rogelio Carbon, husband of Tuala.  

Carbon and Tuala hid in Bukidnon after they abducted the young Alcular on October 23, 2005.  A considerable amount was paid to ransom Ralph Ashley, according to the child’s mother, Divina.

During the negotiations for Ralph Ashley’s release, the kidnappers killed a certain Quedan Lim, who acted as the negotiator, and the victim’s grandfather.  Their bodies were dumped in an abandoned lot somewhere in Maguindanao.

After the pay-off, Carbon and Tuala fled.

CIDG North Cotabato operative Neil Gaspar Lacia, after receiving an information from very reliable sources regarding Carbon’s whereabouts, immediately conducted a manhunt and arrested Carbon on January 3.

The office received a cash reward from Kidapawan City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco for the capture of Carbon.