After more than 10 years, kidnap victim Tariq Mian can breathe more easily after his kidnappers were meted life imprisonment by the Makati court.
Judge Elmo Alameda, of Makati RTC Branch 150, found former Senior Inspector Eleazar Seiton, former Sergeant Luminog Guiapal, former Corporal Jumel Cañazares, Jonathan Melgo, Ahmad Guiamad and Beltran Tompeta guilty of kidnap for ransom.
A higher ranking police officer, Chief Inspector Exequiel Cautiver, who acted as the negotiator for the ransom, was pointed by his cohorts as the mastermind of Mian’s kidnapping but the prosecutors found insufficient evidence to include him in the case.
Cautiver was, however, convicted in 2016 for the kidnap-slay of Demosthenes Canete June, 2008, exactly one year after Mian’s abduction.
Tariq Mian, Filipino businessman of Pakistani descent, was kidnapped outside his Makati office in the evening of May 24, 2007.
Seiton, wearing a PNP uniform, served him a fake warrant of arrest for illegal recruitment, handcuffed him and shoved him inside a Toyota Innova where six other men were on board.
The suspects brought Mian to a house in Pansol, Calamba, Laguna where he was detained for 10 days. His kidnappers initially demanded P5-million ransom, which was lowered several times. He was released after his wife paid P2-million ransom.
Kidnapping for ransom carries the death penalty but Republic Act 9346 removed the imposition of the death penalty, so the six accused can only be sentenced to the penalty of reclusion perpetua, Alameda said.
The PACER conducted an operation against Seiton, Melgo and Guiamad on June 3, 2007 after Mian’s wife reported the incident.
Mian was also robbed of cash and valuables including two rings: a wedding ring and a ring from his former wife who died in a vehicular accident which also claimed his daughter’s life.
Guiapal, Cañazares, Seiton, Melgo, Guiamad and Tompeta were present during the promulgation of the case.
Alameda emphasized that the victim is the best witness against his kidnappers because he had no ulterior motive in implicating them and did not know them before the incident.
Joan and Karen Canete, both present at the promulgation, lamented: “We are happy for Mian but sad that Cautiver was not included in the case. Our father could still be alive otherwise.”
Architect Ka Kuen Chua, chairperson, Teresita Ang See founding chairperson, and other members of the Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order were present at the promulgation.
Mian is an active member of the MRPO, made up of former kidnap victims.
See commended Mian’s persistence to pursue the case despite the fact that the kidnappers included active duty police and military men.
Mian received several threats, some of them, police said, could be from Cautiver because the threats stopped after he was arrested for the Canete kidnap-murder case.
3 Chinese nabbed for kidnap of Taiwanese
A Taiwanese national was rescued by police from three Chinese who allegedly kidnapped him after he failed to pay his P100,000 debt to loan sharks at a casino in Parañaque City on Jan. 9.
Police arrested Chinese Zhao Xu, 29; Cai Xing Bao, 29, and Xia Xiao Lin, 30; who were tagged in the kidnapping of Lat Yun Chun, 38.
Police said the suspects allegedly held Lat at Baymont Suites and Residences along Airport Road in Baclaran on Jan. 7. They contacted Lat’s family in Taiwan, ordering them to pay Lat’s debt.
The victim initially paid the suspects P60,000.
Lat’s family sought assistance from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila, which coordinated with the authorities, resulting in the arrest of the suspects, Southern Police District director Chief Superintendent Tomas Apolinario said.
Lat has been living in the country since last year.
Police said the victim got hooked on gambling after he lost his job in Taguig City.
There is a sharp increase in casino-related kidnapping, police said.
Apolinario said they would conduct an investigation to determine if the suspects are members of a kidnapping ring.
Police said charges of serious illegal detention and physical injuries would be filed against the suspects before the Parañaque City prosecutor’s office.