‘Abducted’ GenSan trader gains freedom

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 June)– A local businessman who went missing a month ago and was later reported to have been kidnapped was released unharmed by his alleged captors in nearby Koronadal City on Sunday night.

Senior Supt. Romeo Ver, South Cotabato police director, confirmed on Monday the release of Renato Asumbrado, 32, at past 7 p.m. Sunday in front of the Christ the King parish cathedral and the Diocese of Marbel compound.

The victim was reportedly abandoned by the kidnappers and immediately sought assistance from parish workers as instructed by his captors.

The parish staff then alerted Koronadal City Mayor Peter Miguel, who was then attending mass, regarding the release of the kidnap victim, who is reportedly a fish trader.

“The victim was later turned over to the Koronadal City police station and was brought back to General Santos City,” Ver said.

Asumbrado was reportedly abducted by unidentified armed men near his home in Zone 10-B, Block 8, Barangay Fatima here last May 24.

The victim was on his way home aboard a motorcycle at around 6:45 p.m. when he was stopped by two motorcycle-riding men and then reportedly ordered at gunpoint to join them before speeding away.

His motorcycle was later found abandoned by police operatives at a portion of Zone 10, Block 1 in Barangay Fatima.

A search made on the motorcycle’s utility box yielded a list that detailed the victim’s supposed cash and check collections worth around P4 million.

Supt. Rolly Octavio, deputy city police director for operations, earlier ruled out the incident as a case of kidnapping due to some missing elements that would conclude it as such.

“When we say abduction, the victim should have been taken by force,” he said.

But in Asumbra’s case, Octavio said witnesses claimed the victim was not forcibly taken and there was no resistance when he joined his captors in another motorcycle.

Narrating his ordeal, Asumbrado told police he was taken last May 24 by two unidentified motorcycle-riding suspects who were wearing black bonnets.

The suspects reportedly brought him near the Mindanao State University compound in Barangay Tambler before he was blindfolded and transferred to a waiting car.

The vehicle travelled for about two hours, and he was transferred again to a waiting motorcycle, which brought him to a place where he was held captive for a month, he said.

On Sunday afternoon, Asumbrado said he was again blindfolded, transferred to several vehicles and was brought to unknown places before he was later released in Koronadal City.

The victim did not say whether a ransom demand and payment was made for his release. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)