QC court finds 8 men–including two former police officers—guilty of kidnapping Filipino-Chinese trader 17 years ago

(Eagle News) — Eight men–including two former police officers—were found guilty of kidnapping a Filipino-Chinese trader in Manila on Friday, 17 years after the crime was committed, while two others were acquitted.

Judge Ma. Luisa Gonzalez-Betic of the Regional Trial Court Branch 225 of Quezon City convicted Romeo Ayson, Clayton Patingan, Alberto Culanag, Romeo Aruta, Jose Olbato, Jaime Tolevas, Edwin Castillo, and Sebastian Magaipo of kidnapping Genevive Sy in 2004 and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua without eligibility of parole, a Philippine National Police statement said.

Patingan and Ayson are former officers of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

Pepe Bihag and Lolita Monares, on the other hand, were absolved of the crime, which also saw PNP Chief Guillermo Eleazar, then a field grade officer assigned as Chief of the Investigation and Case Monitoring Division of the defunct Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response now the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group, testify in court.

In 2016, three others who were originally charged–Mary Ann Angcahan, Julien Madrid, Janeth Patilona, Clifftor Langcao, Eric Pa-o—were released as part of a plea-bargaining agreement.

“Although it took 17 years for the case to reach its logical conclusion, what is more important is that justice prevailed eventually and the criminals have been put away,” Eleazar said.

According to PNP-AKG records, Sy, 27, was forcibly taken on March 18, 2004 while she was driving her car along Severino Street in Sta Cruz, Manila.

She was robbed of her jewelry, cash and personal belongings.

She was then brought to a safehouse in Fairview, Quezon City and was transferred to another safehouse in Antipolo City.

A ransom of P500,000.00 was paid on March 19 of the same year.

She was rescued a day later.