CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/23 September) –The police patrol uniforms bearing Police Regional Office 4A (Calabarzon) patches that were found inside the abandoned vehicle used in Manuel Boniao’s abduction Monday were genuine Philippine National Police uniforms, this city’s police director today said.
But Senior Supt. Gerardo Rosales said at the same time that the uniforms were intended to mislead them in their investigation of the kidnapping of Boniao, a local trader engaged in selling agricultural inputs.
Chief Insp. Reynante Reyes, head of the Regional Special Operations Group, said in a text message late Wednesday evening that they recovered the vehicle at about 4am of September 21 in Sitio Langga, Barangay San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon.
Found in the vehicle were six PNP blue patrol T-shirts, four PNP bull caps, one blue sleeveless shirt with bloodstains, 22 cans of spray paint, three bottles of lacquer thinner, one roll of tape, and one brown leather wallet.
“The police patrol uniforms left inside the vehicle were genuine uniforms made by PNP-accredited tailors. But these had Calabarzon patches. I believe these were used to throw us off our investigation. I do not believe that Calabarzon police officers came all the way down here in Cagayan de Oro City just to abduct Mr. Boniao,” said Rosales.
He said they were able to trace were the uniforms were bought but did not mention other details.
Rosales also said that his office has already coordinated with the Police Regional Office for a possible issuance of a memorandum order or guidelines on the wearing of police uniforms.
In an earlier interview, Regional Intelligence Division chief Senior Supt. Noel Armilla said official guidelines on the wearing of police uniforms would help prevent a repeat of the modus operandi used in Boniao’s daring abduction in broad daylight last Monday.
“Considering that this modus operandi has been used in another abduction case, it is high time there is a proper guideline on wearing police uniforms and for the public to know. For example, we do not allow our trainees to wear their training uniforms outside Camp (Vicente) Alagar,” said Armilla.
Like in Boniao’s case, the abductors of Ozamiz City-based trader Alexander Lim in Linamon, Lanao del Norte, last June, also wore PNP patrol uniforms. The still unidentified abductors released Lim after more than a month in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur.
Asked for updates on the Boniao’s abduction, Rosales said they are collaborating with the Philippine Anti-Crime and Emergency Response, National Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
“We still do not know the whereabouts of the suspects. Until there is a demand for ransom, we still cannot categorize Boniao’s abduction as a kidnap-for-ransom case,” said Rosales. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)