MANILA – Alarmed by the rising cases of kidnapping in the country, Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero on Tuesday said he will verify the reports in the Senate hearing on the proposed Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) budget for 2015.
”I will verify if the reports are true that the kidnapping is on the rise in our country, specially in Metro Manila,” Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, said in a Senate media interview.
Escudero has also put to task the Philippine National Police (PNP) to step up its campaign to arrest the perpetrators in order to allay fears of a restive public.
Escudero said crimes brazenly done in broad daylight is an indication of the criminals’ contempt for law and order and a clear mockery of police authorities.
“Why are criminals so emboldened nowadays to perpetrate their crimes in public? Why do these things happen under the noses of our police authorities?” Escudero asked.
“I have received feedback from friends who have witnessed kidnappings or relatives of victims who have been subjected to abduction and have paid ransom for their releases. There’s a segment of the community who is already in panic and there must be a concrete action to abate these crimes and prevent the spread of alarm among the public,” he said.
Recent incidents of kidnap-for-ransom have been reported with the perpetrators even killing their victims, according to the senator from Bicol.
Last week, Chinese-Filipino businessman Benito Chao was snatched in Bulacan and was found dead hours after. The kidnappers were reported to have asked for a P20-million ransom but a series of negotiations by the family has brought it down to P15 million.
Just last Monday, a photo went viral showing a group of heavily-armed men appeared to be forcing passengers of one vehicle at gun point to get out while in the middle of EDSA. When police authorities arrived, they gunmen were gone.
“These are crimes that do not even hide under the cloak of darkness anymore. It is very disturbing. These are the reported ones, but I am sure there are more which have remained unreported by the victims and their families out of fear of retaliation from their aggressors,” Escudero said.
“I ask the PNP to intensify its campaign against criminals and beef up security to protect the public. The people need to be assured that they can walk our streets to and from their homes,” he added.