Parents of Ateneo student deny ‘kidnap me’ scheme

In statements sent to Rappler, the victim's parents narrate how the kidnapping happened and refute the 'kidnap me' angle

NO 'KIDNAP ME'. Brian Mata, father of the victim, sets the record straight. File photo by Katerina Francisco/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – “Let us state this in clear and in no uncertain terms: The kidnapping happened, and it was NOT a scheme that was cooked up by my daughter or any of her friends.” 

This was the statement – first sent to Rappler on Thursday, December 5 – of Brian and Betsy Mata, parents of Bea Mata, a senior college student of the Ateneo de Manila University. Bea, 20, was kidnapped in the school’s parking lot last November 21  a case confirmed by the university but refuted by police. (READ: Ateneo student kidnapped on campus)

Quezon City Police District (QCPD) chief Richard Albano was earlier quoted as saying no kidnapping happened, that even the parents of the victim and the government’s Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) denied it. 

Police said they are also looking into the possibility of a staged abduction, a case of “kidnap me.” (READ: No Ateneo student kidnapping, says police)

But Brian told Rappler in a phone interview they never talked to Albano or anyone from the QCPD, adding the case is in fact with the AKG. 

“We NEVER issued any statement to anyone that the kidnapping never happened. And as far we know, the AKG also never issued any similar statements. In fact, the investigation by the AKG into the kidnapping is ongoing, and is being handled by Case Officer SPO1 Rodel Decierdo,” the couple said in their statement.

‘Panyero’

In the same statement, they said Bea was taken from the Ateneo campus between 6:30 pm and 7 pm on November 21, and released between 2:20 am and 3 am of Friday, November 22.

During the negotiations, they were in contact with police at Camp Karingal and the AKG  headed by Supt. Mar Desamito  at Camp Crame. 

In a separate statement also sent to Rappler, Bea estimated “there were at least four men in the car,” aged “from perhaps 30 to 40 years old,” and who all addressed each other as “panyero.”

“Some of the more specific names mentioned were ‘Oscar’ and ‘Bonbon,’ but whether they actually slipped or they were bluffing, I wasn’t sure,” she said in her statement.

Professor ‘Dale’

At the earlier hours of the abduction, the suspects asked Bea about her personal information, and whether her phone had a tracker. As earlier reported by Rappler, the policemen helping Bea’s parents were tracking cellphone signals during negotiations.

The suspects asked Bea to “think of ways by which they could earn money.” They ordered her to ask her parents for money using an organization event as excuse. One of the men even posed as a professor named “Dale” who kept asking for the money in Bea’s place. 

Bea made the first call with her mother, Betsy, and deliberately talked in an “arrogant” manner to “arouse my suspicion that something was terribly wrong,” Betsy said in a separate statement. 

“Hi Mama. Can you go to school? I need money,” she told her mom, asking her to deliver the money at Xavier (one of the buildings in Ateneo). 

The next negotiations were done by “Dale” while the parents were in Ateneo. At around 10:03 pm, Brian received a text message from Bea’s cellphone which read, “papa 250000 for me cubbao jolibee.” This was followed by another text a minute after that read, “Alone.”

Albano earlier said the suspects demanded P250,000 ransom money. 

Entrapment

The couple went to Camp Karingal, where a one-page endorsement paper was processed for 30 minutes. One of the policemen accompanied them to the AKG where they were met by some of their relatives. 

While explaining the situation to the AKG, Brian’s friend from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) texted him the coordinates of where Bea’s phone was located: in Concepcion, Marikina. Brian told the suspects they can only give P30,000 – an amount the kidnappers agreed to. 

They were already willing to give the money, but was asked by the AKG to sign a waiver saying the group will not be held responsible for what might happen, adding “there is no ‘kaliwaan’ during payoffs” and that there is no assurance of the daughter’s safety.

“They also want to explore the angle of ‘kidnap me.’ We assured them that it is not the personality of my daughter to do such a thing,” Betsy said.  

Brian left with a team to entrap the suspects in Marikina, while Betsy stayed behind at Camp Crame.

‘A victim twice over’

The suspects left Bea alone near a Caltex station along Manggahan in Pasig City after calling the operation “sablay (failure).” She asked for passersby to help her park her car – which seemed to have overheated – in the gas station. Earlier, a police source told Rappler witnesses at the Caltex station saw the victim arrive alone in her car.

She called her grandmother using the landline of a convenience store, and her grandmother passed the phone to her sister, Sammy. Sammy helped Bea contact their mother.

Bea’s father picked her up at the gas station and the family reunited at 4 am of November 22 and was asked by the AKG to return the next day for the victim’s debriefing. 

We are saddened that our Bea has become a victim twice over. She has been through the terrifying nightmare of being kidnapped, and now she is going through another nightmare: being accused of concocting the whole thing up  an accusation that has no basis in fact,” the Mata couple said. 

They said other people – family members, AKG officers, military, and gas station workers  can attest to their statements.  Rappler.com

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