In a Resolution dated 20 May 2013, but released only today, the Department of Justice Task Force on Anti-Kidnapping for Ransom recommended the filing of Information for kidnapping for ransom, under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, pertaining to the kidnapping for ransom of complainants Rolito Go (Rolito) and Klemens Yu (Klemens). It will be recalled that Rolito was convicted for the 1991 killing of Eldon Maguan, and now serving his sentence at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Assistant State Prosecutors SUSAN B. AZARCON and CHRISTINE T. PEROLINO, with the approval of the Prosecutor General, found probable cause for the filing of Information against respondents EMILIO ORTIZ, LAWRENCE YURONG, EMERSON GUAZON, FERNANDO FRANCISCO, ARMANDO PONDERO, JERRY DUERAS, and REYNALDO TADTAD but, at the same time, indorsed the dismissal of the Complaint against a certain Kumander Rico and John Does for lack of positive identification and showing of clear participation in the crime charged.
Records show that on 14 August 2012, inmate Rolito and his nephew Klemens were forcibly taken by the respondents against their will from a nipa hut near the Inang Awa Church inside the NBP Reserve compound, and were detained in a safehouse at Sto. Tomas, Batangas for a day. In the Complaint, Rolito alleged that at first, Kumander demanded two hundred million pesos (Php200,000,000.00) for his and Klemens liberty. When Rolito responded that he did not have that amount of money, Kumander asked him to raise at least fifty million pesos (Php50,0000,000.00). Rolito and Klemens were later released by the respondents, and were instructed not to report to the police since no ransom money was taken from them. Klemens corroborated the allegations of Rolito. Respondents allowed him to call his mother Julie Sy to ask for ransom money. He further stated that respondents took his ATM and credit cards, asked for his pin number, and withdrew sixty thousand pesos (Php60,000.00) from his ATM.
In finding for the existence of probable cause, the Task Force resolved that it was established that the principal objective of the respondents in depriving complainants of their liberty was to obtain ransom money from the complainants' family as can be gleaned by respondents' repeated demands for the same. However, there is no sufficient evidence to show that respondents acted in conspiracy with each other. Therefore, the individual liability of each of the respondents was determined by the Task Force, as follows:
Since respondent Fernando Francisco, alias Pando failed to file his counter-affidavit despite due notice, his case was resolved based on the uncontroverted evidence presented by complainants. Records reveal that Francisco participated in the offense by serving as one of the guards in the safehouse in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.
Respondents Jerry O. Dueñas alias Jerry, Armando V. Mondero alias Arman, and Lawrence Yurong alias Dodong, alias Dong; alias Sonny were all positively identified by complainants from the rouge gallery of CID-NBI, and thereafter, identified by Klemens in a police line-up. The complainants alleged that Jerry, Arman, and Dodong are among the four persons who abducted them at the NBP, and held them at Honda civic car in transit to the safehouse in Batangas. The Task Force found complainants' identification of respondents as their kidnappers credible because "they had a proper view of said respondents and negotiated with the latter during their captivity". Furthermore, Jerry and Arman voluntarily executed their affidavits and expressly admitted their participation in the offense charged.
Although respondent Emerson Guazon alias Bong was not positively identified by the complainants, the Task Force found complainants' physical description of Bong, combined with the affidavits of Jerry and Arman, and the bank footages, satisfactory to establish probable cause against him. Based on said evidence, it was clear that Bong took the ATM of Klemens, and withdrew money from the ATM machine of RCBC Capitolyo, Pasig.
The Task Force made scant consideration to the defense of denial raised by respondents Emilio 'Penales Ortiz alias Emil and Reynaldo Tadtad alias Reggie. The Task Force also ruled that Emil and Reggie's defense of alleged lack of acquiescence and voluntariness in their participation in complainants' kidnapping are evidentiary in nature
and "best ventilated in court". Both Jerry and Arman named Emil as the mastermind in the kidnapping of the complainants. Emil purportedly gave marching orders to the other respondents, and provided the necessary props indispensable to perpetrate the crime, such as the vehicle, guns, and fake NBI ID's. In the case of Reggie, he admitted that the safehouse at Batangas where the complainants were brought is owned by his relatives. Reggie also guarded complainants in the safehouse, and disposed of the Honda Civic of Klemens.
Pursuant to said findings, the Task Force recommends the filing of Information against the above-named seven (7) respondents.