DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 October) – The Bishop of Dipolog is asking for prayers for the safe return of kidnap victim Rolando Del Torchio, an Italian restaurant owner in Dipolog City who used to be a missionary.
This as authorities named a notorious leader of a kidnap for ransom group who was reported arrested in August 2013, as the leader of the group behind the del Torcho kidnapping of October 7, 2015.
The news site of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) reported that Dipolog Bishop Severo Caermare has been coordinating with local government, police, and the military, for the return of del Torchio, who was abducted from his restaurant, UrChoice Bistro Café, in Dipolog City Wednesday night.
“More importantly, I humbly ask everyone to please pray and collaborate for his safety and immediate release,” CBCP News quoted Caermare as saying.
Del Torchio was ordained priest in 1984, under the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), worked in Naples for a couple of years and was sent to the Philippines in 1990, where he served as parochial vicar of the Holy Cross Parish in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte.
While serving as missionary, he founded the Farmers Training Cooperative Center, a non-governmental organization that helped local farmers.
The CBCP News said del Torchio was dispensed from the priesthood in 1996
“for personal reasons.”
It quoted Chief Insp. Ryan Hernandez of the Zamboanga Del Norte Provincial Police Office as saying at least two suspects had been identified by witnesses from the police rogue gallery and that both suspects have pending cases of kidnapping, murder, extortion, and illegal possession of firearms.
The suspects were not named in the CBCP News report but Supt. Rockie Cabrera Laungayan, head of the Incident Management Task Group of the Zamboanga del Norte police, in a report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on October 9, identified the two as Julmin Muloc and Sihra Muloc aka “Red Eye.”
An August 9, 2013 report of Mindanao Pagadian Frontline named a “Sehar Muloc” aka “Red Eye” as suspect in the 2012 kidnapping of Mayor Jeffrey Lim of Salug, Zamboaga Sibugay
Lim was abducted by some 10 armed men disguised as policemen while having dinner with his family near a bus terminal in his town on April 2, 2012 and was freed near Zamboanga City seven months later, on November 6.
Muloc aka “Red Eye,” who was described in the report as a “notorious leader of Kidnap for Ransom Group (KFR)” operating in Zamboanga del Norte ad Zamboanga Sibugay, was nabbed at the Pasalubong Center in poblacion Ipil, by a composite team of operatives from the Naval Intelligence and Security Group, 102nd Infantry Brigade and Zamboanga Sibugay Police Provincial Office on August 7, 2013.
“Muloc was also implicated in the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Reynaldo Drapeza of Bulawan, Joel Indino Jr of Guiwan sall of Payao town; Randelle Talania of Brgy Namnama, Titay all of Zamboanga Sibugay,” the report said.
The report added that the suspect was brought to the Zamboanga Sibugay Police Provincial Office “for interrogation, for possible apprehension of his cohorts.”
It said Col. (now Brig. Gen) Ignacio Obligacion, then commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, commended hs troops for the arrest of Muloc.
“The apprehension of Muloc will open the door for their victims to achieve justice. Soon, his cohorts will also be apprehended and we will end their criminal acts. We will also acknowledge our people for giving timely information that is vital in the success of the operation,” Obligacion said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) in its “Status of Implementation of Major Programs/Projects,” cited as among its accomplishments under the “Campaign against Kidnapping,” the arrest of Muloc aka Commander ‘Red Eye,’ described as “a notorious leader of lawless elements (LLES) and Kidnap for Ransom Group (KFRG) operating in Zamboanga Sibugay and nearby provinces of Zamboanga Peninsula on August 7, 2013.”
Two years after his supposed arrest, Muloc aka “Red Eye” is again reported as suspect in yet another kidnapping.
Del Torchio’s abduction 17 days after a Norwegian national, two Canadians, and a Filipina were taken at gunpoint from a resort in the Island Garden City of Samal. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, head of the Regional Peace and Order Council told reporters that reports reachin him indicate the vicims have been brought to Sulu. (MindaNews)