4 arrested for kidnapping fellow student

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A 19-year-old Letran student was rescued from kidnappers demanding P30 million, the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced in a briefing on Monday, August 6.

The victim, who refused to be named, was rescued last Friday, August 3, found squirming in a small room with his eyes covered and wrists tied with duct tape.

His suspected kidnappers? Fellow students from Colegio de San Juan de Letran, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Far Eastern University, and a certain flying school in Parañaque City.

The kidnapping: Citing the report of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG), top cop Oscar Albayalde said the Letran student was kidnapped along with his classmate Jhulius Atabay on August 1 as they were waiting for a bus near the Central Station of the Light Rail Transit Line 1 in Manila.

Before they could board a bus, they were taken by "more or less 6 unidentified armed men" aboard a white Toyota Innova with an unknown plate number. They "immediately sped off to [an] unknown direction."

The twist: According to cops, Atabay was released by the abductors and then phoned afterwards using the kidnapped student's phone. The abductors demanded P30 million for the release of the remaining victim.

The victim's family called cops for help, and upon investigation, detectives found that Atabay was "the mastermind" of the kidnapping.

"He didn't want to turn over the phone used in the negotiations. Kidnappers spoke to him and he relayed their messages to the victim's family, which is unusual," said PNP AKG head Chief Superintendent Glenn Dumlao in a mix of English and Filipino.

YOUNG SUSPECTS. These students are detained for the kidnapping of a 19-year-old Letran student.

PNP photos

The rescue: Upon interrogation, Atabay "broke down" and pointed cops to where his accomplices kept the Letran student.

At around 10:30 am last Friday, cops rescued the Letran student at 285 Nava Street, Barangay 132 in Balut, Tondo, Manila.

The suspects: Aside from Atabay, the following suspects have been arrested:

Cops said the 3 pointed to Atabay as the mastermind, even claiming that they were promised P50,000 to P4 million by Atabay had the crime been completed.

The following suspects, meanwhile, are still at large:

According to Dumlao, the students will face kidnap-for-ransom charges. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.