MANILA, Philippines – The Pasig Regional Trial Court on Tuesday, August 26, found former Quezon City congressman and actor Dennis Roldan and two others guilty of kidnapping a Chinese-Filipino boy in 2005.
The Pasig RTC Branch 159 found Roldan – Mitchell Gumabao in real life – along with Rowena San Andres and Adrian Domingo guilty beyond reasonable doubt in connection with the kidnap-for-ransom case and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
The court acquitted their co-accused Octavio Garces.
Anti-crime crusaders hailed the verdict as a “benchmark” in the legal battle against criminals.
“This is our benchmark. Dennis Roldan is a powerful figure with connections,” said anti-crime advocate and civic leader Teresita Ang See.
Ang See said that the significance of Roldan’s case is that it “shows our victims it pays to fight back.”
“It doesn’t pay to keep quiet. Kidnapping will continue to be a perfect crime if you don’t fight back, if you just continue to pay ransom and you do not fight cases,” she said.
In 2005, Roldan and several others allegedly kidnapped a 3-year-old Filipino-Chinese boy and demanded a P250-million ransom for his release. Days later, the boy was rescued by the Police Anti-Crime Emergency Response (PACER).
Roldan served time in jail after two of his co-accused, Garces and Alberto Pagdanganan, told authorities that the former actor and his girlfriend, Suzette Wang, had ordered them to kidnap the boy.
Even if kidnapping-for-ransom is a non-bailable offense, Roldan managed to post bail in 2006. He became a full-time pastor afterwards, saying he had a religious awakening while in jail.
In 2008, the boy, then 6 years old, positively identified Roldan as his abductor.
In an interview with the media after the announcement of the verdict, Roldan said he viewed the development as “divine will,” and that he would file an appeal.
“Hindi ko alam kung ano ang gusto niya munang gawin ko sa Muntinlupa. Baka naman kasama ‘yan sa kasaysayan ng buhay ko, kasama ‘yan sa magiging testimony natin, ang dadaanan natin ‘yan, ‘yan ang gusto ni Lord. Lahat naman ito, iyan ang divine will ng Diyos,” he said, smiling.
(I don’t know what He wants me to do in Muntinlupa first. Maybe that is part of my story; that will be part of my testimony, to go through that; that is what the Lord wants. All of this is the divine will of God.) – Rappler.com
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