Ateneo student kidnapped on campus

A Rappler source says the suspects were taking drugs while holding the female student captive in her own car

TIGHTEN SECURITY. University officials ask for cooperation from the community as they tighten security after the incident. File photo by Katerina Francisco/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – A college student of the Ateneo de Manila University was kidnapped in the university’s parking lot in Loyola Heights, Quezon City, early evening Thursday, November 21. She was released in less than 24 hours.

The kidnapping was confirmed by Ateneo Vice President for Administration Fr Nemesio Que, SJ, in a statement dated November 29 and posted on the school website on Monday, December 2.

The student was held hostage in her own car at around 6:30 pm Thursday by several men, according to a source privy to the ongoing police probe. The men put her at the back seat and covered her face with a black bonnet. (Editor’s note: We are withholding the identity of the victim.)

The group contacted the victim’s family at about 7 pm to ask for ransom. Negotiations happened throughout the night in the car, the source said, with the suspects even taking drugs while sorting out the ransom payment with the family on the phone. 

The source told Rappler that the student’s family sought the help of policemen who were able to monitor the suspects’ and their victim’s location by tracking their cell phone signals.

The suspects eventually left her alone in the car  which seemed to have overheated  at around 2:55 am Friday, November 22, near a Caltex station along Manggahan in Pasig City. The kidnappers took with them the student’s phone, earrings, watch, and money.

They ran away without ransom, the source said, and “didn’t touch” the victim.

The student was debriefed by the government’s Anti-Kidnapping Group after the incident, and by a university counselor when she returned to school.

Father Que said: “Further to the statement released by my office last Friday, 23 November, based on our initial findings, a kidnapping incident, involving a student of the Loyola Schools, occurred last Thursday, 21 November 2013, between 6-6:30 pm in the North Car Park of the Loyola Heights Campus.”

He assured the university community “that the student was released, unharmed, and that no ransom was paid.” The student has also “returned to the campus and now attends class.” 

Que’s statement did not provide other details.

Tighten security

Que said the university’s security office is putting in place “immediate and short-term measures while studying more long-term policies.”

The short-term measures include:

  • setting up additional lighting and deployment of more roving guards in parking areas
  • enforcement of stricter rules in the entry and exit of people and vehicles on campus
  • closure of alternate entry points around the campus

He also urged the school community to fully cooperate with the implementation of these additional measures, and to report any suspicious characters or behavior on campus.

The incident comes 2 years after the university changed its security agency.

In 2011, Ateneo replaced its security agency of 9 years after a bidding process won by a new agency. Student publication The GUIDON reported that the move divided the community then. – with reports from Apa Agbayani/Rappler.com 

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