TEN armed men snatched a former Italian priest in Dipolog City Wednesday night, reports reaching Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City (Metro Manila) said on Thursday.
Rolando del Torchio, 53, was abducted inside the Ur Choice Pizza House he owns about 7 p.m in Quezon Avenue, Barangay Miputak, Dipolog.
Witnesses told authorities that Del Torchio was dragged into a van and his abductors sped off toward Dipolog City Boulevard. He was seen being transferred to a pump boat that headed towards the 3rd district Zamboanga del Norte.
The kidnappers’ getaway vehicle was found abandoned in the said boulevard.
The victim, who was officiated in Sibuco, Zamboanga del Norte province, has been targeted by kidnap-for-ransom groups several times when he was still an active priest, the military said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had deployed its air and naval assets to assist the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the pursuit and rescue operations particularly off the coast of Zamboanga del Norte.
Likewise, intelligence units have been tasked to monitor possible safe houses of the kidnappers in the province.
Zamboanga del Norte Gov. Roberto Uy, has activated the provincial management body and called an emergency conference with Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn Uy, PNP and Army officials.