Former Batangas official abducted in Nuvali hotel in Laguna
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Two men – one of them a former anti-crime chief of Tanauan City in Batangas – were abducted in a hotel in the upscale Nuvali development area in Sta Rosa City in Laguna on Wednesday night, April 3.
Police said former Tanauan City anti-crime czar Allan Lumbres Fajardo and his aide, Ricky Atienza, were kidnapped inside the Misto restaurant at the Seda Nuvali hotel at around 7:50 pm on Wednesday.
Fajardo used to head of the Mayor's Anti-Criminality (MAC) Group during the time of slain Tanauan City mayor Antonio Halili.
"Victims were inside Misto Restaurant when a group of unidentified suspects entered and forcibly abducted the two victims," the police report said.
The victims were brought to a white van which headed to an "unknown direction," it added.
In a phone interview with Rappler, Sta Rosa police chief Lieutenant Colonel Eugene Orate said around 15 gun-toting men "wearing masks and bonnets" stormed Seda Hotel to pull off the abduction.
The men reportedly held the front guard of the hotel at gunpoint and tied his hands, then headed to the Misto restaurant located at the ground floor and searched for Fajardo and Atienza.
"Noong nahanap sila, according to witnesses, kinaladkad sila papasok ng white van at umalis (When they were found, witnesses said they were dragged to a white van and were taken away)," Orate said.
In a phone interview earlier on Thursday, Laguna police chief Colonel Eleazar Matta said there was initial information that the two were abducted by suspects who posed as "authorities" and served a fake arrest warrant in order to trick the victims into coming with them.
Citing Sta Rosa cops, Matta added that the two had received threats to their lives prior to the incident.
Cops said they were looking at business and work as possible reasons behind the abduction.
Orate said according to the wife of Fajardo, her husband apparently told her that he went to the hotel for a "meeting with business partners."
Citing witnesses, Orate said nobody turned up to meet Fajardo and Atienza.
Recovered from the crime scene was a 45-caliber pistol believed to have come from either the victims or their kidnappers.
Halili's MAC group became controversial during his term as it was allegedly used in apprehending suspects to be subjected to the "Walk of Shame," where crime suspects were paraded in Tanauan's streets with a poster bearing their alleged crime taped on their shirts.
Fajardo's house was raided by the police last year for alleged unlicensed firearms but he was later released after presenting proper documents. – With a report from Tina Ganzon-Ozaeta/Rappler.com