De Oro kidnap victim released, police vows to pursue case vs abductors

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/26 Sept) – Even with the release of kidnap victim Manuel Boniao over the weekend, a senior police officer said they will still pursue the case “with or without” the cooperation of the victim and his family.

Chief Inspector Reynante Reyes, chief of the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG 10), said that after five days in captivity, Boniao was released Saturday night between 7 and 7:30 p.m. and was brought to his home aboard a motorcycle.

Reyes, however, did not elaborate if they have the identity of the person who delivered Boniao to his home in Barangay Gusa last Saturday or if they are holding said person.

He also said that per interview conducted with the family spokesman, former Balingasag Mayor Felix Borromeo, Boniao cannot ascertain the place where he was brought and released because he was blindfolded all the time.

In a phone interview today (Monday), Regional Intelligence Division (RID 10) chief Sr. Supt. Noel Armilla said that “with or without the cooperation of the victim,” they will pursue the case. Especially since the case, he added, is now technically a kidnap-for-ransom case.

“We will now treat the Boniao abduction as a kidnap-for-ransom case since the family paid the abductors for the board and lodging,” Armilla said. Payment for board and lodging is just a euphemism for paying ransom, he added.

Armilla said since the victim’s family is still not talking with the police, they will have to pursue the case as the “nominal complainant.”

City Mayor Vicente Emano, in an interview over a local radio station, confirmed that the Boniao family paid the abductors for “board and lodging” expenses incurred while holding Boniao captive. Emano did not say the amount the family paid to the abductors.

“We are happy that Boniao was released unharmed. The family has paid for the board and lodging of Boniao. However, I cannot divulge anything more because the police are still pursuing the investigation,” Emano said over the radio.

In an earlier interview, Armilla suggested that the kidnapping of Boniao should serve as a wake-up call for the local government to conduct a “security summit.”

“The local government should invite well-to-do families in the city, police and military officers to sit down and discuss and strategize on how to better the security coordination in the city,” Armilla said.

City councilor Roger Abaday agrees with Armilla that the “the city should have a pro-active plan and not just reactive plans.”

“The mayor should spend his intelligence fund to equip even the barangays so that the intelligence gathering capability of the police can be supplemented,” said Abaday, a practicing criminology professor. (Cong B. Corrales / MindaNews)