MANILA, Philippines – "Is she angry at you?" a reporter asked the father of Ica Policarpio, the missing teenager police finally found in Laguna on Sunday, December 24.
"Ngayon, sa tingin ko, hindi na (I think she's not angry at me anymore)," said lawyer Rufino Policarpio III, speaking in a press conference shortly after the family fetched Ica in San Pablo City.
At this point the police is ready to conclude that Ica ran away, confirming what investigators had suspected all along. "There are no indications she was kidnapped," said Metro Manila police chief Director Oscar Albayalde in the same press conference.
Albayalde said the police would also continue its investigation to see if anyone influenced Ica to run away. That person or those persons may face charges of corruption of a minor. (READ: Missing teen ran away or was kidnapped – police)
As the father profusely thanked the public for helping find Ica, he asked everyone to give his daughter some privacy in the meantime.
The family turned to social media to ask public assistance in searching for Ica. The hashtag #FindIca went viral, putting Ica's pictures all over the Internet. It paid off when reports from netizens allowed the police to trace her on Sunday. (READ: The inside story: The tweet that led to finding Ica Policarpio)
"This is the best Christmas gift. Beyond happiness, we feel joy. I don't know how we will move forward, but this is a life-changing experience for us. This is something that will forever change us," the father said.
"We thank the netizens of our nation. 'Yun pong social media ang napakalaking bagay. We trusted the instincts of our young ones. Our daughter and our son, sila po ang nag-broadcast sa social media," said Rufino. (Social media was a big help.... Our daughter and our son were the ones who broadcast this on social media.)
Rufino promised they would give the people the answers they need in due time.
"Ipagpaumanhin ho ninyo at hindi natin masyado talagang kinausap at pinakuwento dahil (We apologize that we didn't really press her for answers because) we respect her privacy. We respect her psychological state," said Rufino.
"Words are very few kanina (earlier). It was really very emotional," Rufino added.
But as the press conference continued, the father opened up more.
He admitted to feeling guilty that Ica ran away because of a "father-daughter discussion" they previously had. He did not elaborate on what it was about.
Ica's mother ribbed Ica about it earlier in Laguna. "Biniro niya si Ica na: 'Why did you leave? Is it because of that?' Mayroon kaming pinag-usapan two days before [she disappeared]. Ngumiti siya. Sabi niya, 'Hindi,'" Rufino narrated.
(Her mother joked.... We talked about something two days before she disappeared. She smiled. She said, "It's not that.")
"Nabawasan ang aking guilt," said Rufino. (It lessened my guilt.)
CCTV footage showed Ica leaving her personal belongings in a coffee shop in a mall in Sucat, Muntinlupa, the night of December 21. Another CCTV footage showed her buying bottled water, supposedly to break her P1,000 bill.
On December 23, netizens from Laguna reported seeing her in a mall, allowing the police to follow up and find her in Laguna on Sunday. – Rappler.com